Two seniors guide young women’s cross country team

With a small core of veterans on the women’s cross country team, Eastern will look to new faces to provide depth this season.

With just two seniors to lead the young team, Beth Martin and Lauren Rapacki will not only set the pace for the season, but will provide direction as well.

“We only have three girls left from the conference team and there’s so many freshman taking in places that it’ll take the whole season to get them as excited as we are,” Martin said.

Eastern will have its first opportunity to test the course Friday at Northern Illinois University where it will face the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and host Northern.

“This weekend we’re going to to in, have fun, and run with the team,” Rapacki said. “Basically we’re going to be running tired through these next meets and we won’t back off until October.”

Last year Eastern finished third place in the Ohio Valley Conference championship race by a nine points to Eastern Kentucky, and will spend these nest weeks building to a better finish.

“It’s going to be a tough race, but it’s going to be good,” Martin said. “Morehead is not losing anyone and Eastern Kentucky is mad they lost after 17 years, and SEMO is always right in there.

“We really need to work together as a team and build confidence. We need to get a good pack so that we’re strong for conference.”

Martin returns after earning First Team OVC honors in addition to Katie Springer, who finished last year with Second Team OVC honors. After finishing a strong track season in the 10,000-meter run, Rapacki will be joined by juniors Nicole Milici and Amber Mauk. Stephanie Bone will also return after redshirting her freshman year.

“We’ll have a nice group of four or five returning, which is a nice group, and there’s four nice freshmen this year. They’re tired, but doing well,” head coach John McInerney said.

Freshman Angie Simone joins Eastern from a class AA high school where she was an all-state runner. Deb Tygrett, Kristin Chandler and Krissy Peters are also new faces who will add depth to the pack.

“I think we need to be patient with the women and hope that in time things will happen,” McInerney said.