Cross Country Aims to Defend Titles

Cross Country Aims to Defend Titles

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – The Susquehanna men’s and women’s cross country teams enter 2011 with targets on their backs, as both come into the fall as defending Landmark Conference champions. This fall also marks 50 years of cross country at Susquehanna University.

The men’s team has captured all four conference titles in the history of the league and thus have never known anything other than being the defending Landmark champions have been picked for a five-peat in 2011 in the Landmark Conference Preseason Poll. The women, meanwhile, captured their second title in four years and hope for back-to-back titles after being tabbed second in the preseason poll.

The Crusaders have the reigning Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year, Marty Owens, back at the helm for his ninth season with both programs. While Owens and SU lost five seniors on the men’s side and five on the women’s side, including NCAA Championship qualifier Alycia Woodruff, the teams welcome back an experienced core of runners as well as 13 combined newcomers (eight men, five women).

This year’s men’s roster boasts eight seniors, among which is Ian Quinlan, a 2010 NCAA Championship competitor who took fourth overall at the Landmark championships. Classmate Joe Zamadics, one of SU’s top runners for the past three years and who placed 17th at the Landmark meet last fall, is primed for another big season. Also back is reining Landmark Rookie of the Year Brandon Mash, who ran to an 11th-place finish at the conference meet.

Upperclassmen Dan Martin, Brendan Kane, Justin Zarazaca and Sal D’Angelo add a tremendous amount of depth. Newcomers Paul Crowe, Austin Iovoli, Alex Price and Evan Skelton are a few of the freshmen who could make impacts immediately on the squad.

A trio of seniors will help provide leadership for the women – Casey Hess, Teresa McHale and Katelin Peropat. Hess was a top-10 finisher at the conference championship meet a year ago, earning her a spot on the First Team. Carol Giblin and Carly Bass placed in the top 20 for SU at that meet, and return this fall for their junior seasons.

Sarah Dickerson, Michelle Kraske and Shannon Galvin will add a good amount of experience and depth to match the other top-20 finishers from 2010. Meghan Ashford, Fatima Resendiz-Zavala and Maggie Storch are newcomers to the roster who could make major contributions immediately.

The Crusaders compete in six meets over the course of September and October, including hosting the Ashley Shell Tomlinson Alumni Run on Sept. 17, before traveling to the Landmark Conference Championships. Moravian serves as the host institution this year, with the meet being held at Lehigh University.