No. 1 Grand Valley State hopes to repeat championship run
No. 1 Grand Valley State
Despite the fact that two of the past three Division II cross country national championship trophies reside in Allendale, Mich., the Grand Valley State women are the preseason favorites for the first time in program history.
Five returning scorers and six of seven total nationals runners back in 2013 could not be ignored, as the voters bestowed seven of the eight first-place votes to the Lakers.
A pair of young front-runners from NCAAs a year ago return in sophomore Jessica Janecke, who was just a freshman when she finished fourth overall in 2012, and junior Allyson Winchester, who finished just behind her teammate in sixth. Juniors Hannah Osborn (26th) and Madie Rodts (42nd) and senior Courtney Brewis (51st) will also return for a shot at a third title in four seasons.
No. 2 Adams State
Adams State was tabbed as the top team in the South Central Region entering the 2013 season after coming off a stellar 2012 campaign.
All-American Kelly Lamb will be joined by Lauren Martin, Alyssa Selve and Jessie Brunett, all of whom finished in the top-50 at the 2012 Division II National Championships. Lamb has also been named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Preseason Runner of the Year.
Adams State will open the 2013 season on Sept. 7 at the 20th Annual Joe I. Vigil Open in Alamosa, Colo. at Cattails Golf Course.
No. 3 Western State
Western State returners Anna Marshall, Julie Pack and Tara Richardson will guide the Mountaineers in 2013.
Marshall, finished ninth in the South Central Region last year with a time of 22:35.
An All-American in 2012, Pack will help lead the Mountaineer women in 2013. Pack also added another All-American title in 2013 at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships, finishing seventh in the 3,000-meter run.
Richardson is coming off an All-American performance at the 2013 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships, finishing fourth in the women's 10,000-meter run.
The Mountaineers will officially begin racing on Sept. 6 at the Colorado State Invite in Fort Collins, Colo.
No. 4 Augustana (S.D.)
Augustana (S.D.) has five years and nine championships since joining the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in 2008.
Two of the most decorated female Augustana (S.D.) athletes decided to return to Sioux Falls to use their final year of eligibility as members of the Viking cross country team. Seniors Runa Falch and Kristin Brondbo graduated in the spring, but held off on returning to their native Norway in search of one more season with Augustana.
Helping the two runners from Norway are a trio of athletes looking for their chance in the spotlight with hopes of leading Augustana to a seventh consecutive conference title. Gabi Swoboda, Kaitlyn Yoerg and Megan Brown are going to be junior returners.
Freshmen Cassidy Soli and Denae Doornink will add to the mix of challengers for the top seven spots on the Vikings' championship meet roster.
No. 5 Chico State
Chico State brings back three scoring members of its team from 2012 that finished in the No. 5 spot.
Top two scorers and seniors are All-American Sara Mikesell (14th) and Ayla Granados (46th) . With them returns junior Jessica Varela (63rd).
As for the newcomers, Chico State welcomes Jacqueline Adams, Hannah Dorman and Madison Grenier to the 2013 squad.