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Women’s cross-country nationally ranked

October 21, 2011

For the first time in school history, Monmouth College Women’s Cross Country has garnered a top 10 ranking. After capturing the Illinois College Invitational for the second consecutive year, Monmouth received a number 10 ranking in the NCAA Midwest Region by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Midwest Region consists of all teams in Missouri, Wisconsin and Illinois. St. Norbert, the only other Midwest Conference representative, is currently ninth in the polls. Junior Rachel Bowden finished second individually in the IC Invite, on her way to Midwest Conference Performer of the Week honors. Bowden’s 6K time of 23:07 was good enough for a runner-up finish in a field of nearly 80 runners.

Coach Roger Haynes feels confident about his squad, which features four juniors and three sophomores, but noseniors.

“We have quality experience with a talented junior class,” he said. “We also have solid depth in terms of the seven women we have on our squad. Tory Beaty, Brittney Frazier, Marlee Lane, Alyssa Edwards and Kyra Kimber have all run well each week. Kenzie Payton has shown solid improvement the past two weeks.”

Throughout the fall, the Scots posted finishes of fifth, eighth, and fifth, respectively, before taking first in Jacksonville. In four contests, the women have 14 top 30 individual finishes, including six of the top nine at Jacksonville last week. Haynes is complimentary of his runners but knows they cannot rest on their ranking.

“All of our girls understand the training plan and have worked hard to improve,” he said. “They have done a great job this season. Our girls have good ability but a better work ethic.”

Haynes, in his 13th season heading the program, knows his squad’s recent ranking carries significant weight.

“The Midwest has traditionally been one of the two strongest regions in the nation for Division III,” he said. “The east coast teams traditionally do well too.”

On Saturday Oct. 29, the Scots will travel to Ripon for the Midwest Conference Championship. Two weeks later, on Nov. 12, postseason action gets underway with the NCAA Midwest Regional at nearby Saukie Golf Course in the Quad Cities. Each event promises to provide solid competition for the 10th ranked Scots.

“Grinnell and St. Norbert are both currently ranked in the top 10 of their respective regions,” Haynes said. “Both have strong teams with good traditions. Our girls won conference in 2008, Grinnell in 2009 and St. Norbert in 2010.”

In terms of regional competition, Monmouth is not without foes.

“Illinois Wesleyan and Augustana are both common opponents that we see at big meets,” Haynes said. “We always want to measure up well with those schools.”

If Monmouth qualifies for the National Championship, it will have conquered many opponents along the way. The Midwest region is comprised of approximately 40 teams. The top four teams advance, and the top seven individuals not on those four advance to the NCAA National Championship the following week.

Kyle Mc Ewen
Contributing Writer

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