Sept. 19, 1997
1997 Women's Cross Country Outlook
There is no time like the present, so the saying goes, and now is the time for women's cross country at Boston College. Head coach Randy Thomas, in his 11th season at BC, has brought together some of the nation's elite junior runners this season to form a top knotch cross country team. With good reason, Thomas has high expectations this year. Consider this: Two Boston College cross country runners were selected last year to the U.S. World Junior Team - they were two of only six chosen from around the country; seven Boston College runners went to Tuscon, Ariz., last season to compete at the NCAAs - five of them finished in the Top 100; the team overall placed 12th at the championships, the best finish ever by a Boston College cross country team; and the club finished five meets in the top five and earned a national ranking all season long with a high of No. 6 at mid-season.
It can only get better, and Thomas is confident it will. Despite losing six runners to graduation and transfers, Boston College returns a solid core of 18 experienced athletes.
Senior sensation Angie Graham, an All-American, is the squad's top returning runner. Last year she broke through the BC history books, recording a new best for BC in the mile in indoor track with a time of 4:37.52. She also finished 4th out of 121 runners at the BIG EAST Cross Country Championships and was a traveling member of the NCAA squad where she finished 74th out of 176 runners.
Sophomores Shannon Smith and Kyla Barbour return after lighting up the courses last season in their first year of collegiate competition. The two finished one and third respectively at the world junior trials and were selected to the U.S. World Junior Cross Country Team. Smith also competed at the NCAA's where she was the second BC runner to cross the finish line with a time of 19:00. She finished 85th overall. Barbour finished first for Boston College at the NCAAs and 54th overall with a time of 18:38. Quite an achievement for the freshman, but she topped even that. She improved her time by 19 seconds to 18:19 when she finished 20th out of 128 runners at the ECAC.
Senior Jodie Lake, a consistent performer for Boston College, returns and looks to capatalize on last season's stand-out performance. Lake finished first for the women against New Hampshire with a time of 18:10 and also competed at the national championships where she finished 149th out of 176 runners. Her best time of the season came in the New England Championships where she finished the course in 17:52. She placed 15th out of 217 runners at the event.
Senior Ann Baldelli is another stand-out that returns from last season. She finished a respectable 44th out of 121 runners at the BIG EAST Championships (18:24), but her best time of the year came at the New England Championships where she ran 18:05 and finished 17th out of 121 runners.
Two recruits join the team by way of Canada. Cassandra Wells from Scarsborough , Ontario and Lisa McIsaac from Edmonton, Alberta will bring talent to the team that will be of immediate impact. Wells has a 4:57 mile to her credit and was a stand-out performer at Strathcona Composite High School. McIsaac is the provincial champion in the 1500 meter and 3000 meter and has a 4:58 mile to her credit.
"The team has outstanding, up-front quality and depth," said Thomas. "I believe the top seven runners should be under 18 minutes for the 5000 meter. If they run at that level, it's a team that should crack into the NCAAs."
Thomas, of course, is not worried whether his team will make it to the NCAAs, he's just curious to see where they end up. With a twelth place finish last season, Thomas said this year the quesiton is whether they can crack into the Top 10.