Dec. 2, 2010

Adams State women seek eighth consecutive championship

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Few things in recent years have been as certain as an Adams State national title in the Division II Women’s Cross Country Championships, but this year may provide a glimmer of hope for the rest of the field.

The Grizzlies stand atop the Division II rankings as usual as they prepare for Saturday’s national championship. They have won the last seven championships, including last year’s eight-point win over Grand Valley State, which poses the greatest threat to the Grizzly eight-peat.

The Grizzlies are paced by Central regional winner Kristen McGlynn and Alicia Nelson, who led the team at last year’s championship with a ninth-place overall finish.

The national rankings might suggest a vulnerability for Adams State. The Grizzlies were ranked third in the next-to-last listing before vaulting their way to the top spot after the regionals. Adams State also finished second at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference meet (to Western State), although that outcome – and the lower ranking − may have been influenced by the absence of Nelson, who was out with an injury.

Grand Valley State topped the national rankings before the Division II regionals, and the Lakers appear to have the right stuff to make a run at the title. The Lakers won their 10th consecutive Midwest regional title in November, paced by Katherine McCarty, who finished 15th overall at the 2009 national meet. Sarah Dugan led a 4/5/7/8 pack that secured the regional championship for the Lakers. Grand Valley State also dominated the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet, tallying a mere 18 points in a romp.

Shippensburg State from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference is ranked third nationally. The three-time defending Atlantic region champions are familiar with the course at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, having run in the Greater Louisville Classic in October. In that event, the Lady Raiders finished fourth, ahead of several Division I programs including Kentucky, Missouri and Mississippi State. Neely Spence and Mary Dell lead the Lady Raiders.
The national championship will be conducted over a 6,000-meter course. The forecast for the noon ET start is for a temperature in the mid-30s, with rain or snow likely.