Frostburg, Md. ...
“Everything old is new again.” This saying is once again true in the Allegheny Mountains as the Frostburg State University men’s and women’s cross country teams and first-year head coach Randy Lowe prepare for the 2001 season.
Youthful can best describe Lowe’s squads this year. Of the ten members on the men’s team, seven are newcomers, including six freshmen. Two juniors, two sophomores and one freshman comprise the women’s roster.
Sophomores Brian Gallagher, Jonathan Masse and Tim Watson are the lone returning members of last year’s men’s team. Gallagher enjoyed a solid rookie season, earning All-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference honors in 2000 with a 10th-place finish at the league championship meet.
Masse is looking to rebound from a foot injury that kept him out of action most of the year, while Watson was the team’s fifth man a year ago and is also battling back from an injury suffered during last year’s track season.
A pair of local All-State runners – Sy Farris and Ron Lipscomb - headline the men’s newcomers. Harris joins the Bobcats from Frankfort (W.Va.) High, where he finished sixth in the Class A-AA state meet as a senior. He also placed fourth in the 1600 meters at the 2001 state outdoor track and field championships.
Lipscomb earned a pair of All-State honors in the 2001 outdoor track season (800 and 1600 meters) while running for nearby Northern Garrett and should be one of FSU’s top performers this year.
Junior Mike Replogle and freshmen John Densmore, Justin Marshall, Matt Price and Kevin Ripple will provide the Bobcats will solid and much-needed depth. Last season, the FSU men’s team was reduced to just four runners midway through the season due to injury and failed to place in its final four meets.
"We’re looking to recapture the AMCC crown this year from Penn State Behrend, and I believe we’re in a great position to do so, despite our youth," said Lowe, who served an assistant on both the FSU men’s and women’s teams the last three seasons. "I think we’ll also challenge to earn a team trophy at the Mason-Dixon Conference Championships (as one of the top two teams)."
The women’s team looks to continue its great run of success in recent years and capture its fifth straight AMCC title despite the graduation co-AMCC Most Valuable Runner and All-Region honoree Megan McNew.
The Bobcats return solid experience, have added several strong newcomers and should be one of the favorites to bring home the league championship.
Junior Inga Olsen, who shared AMCC MVP honors with Olsen last season, returns to anchor the women’s team. Rigorous summer workouts have her poised to earn All-NCAA Mid-East Regional honors (she missed by just three places last year) and perhaps qualification for the NCAA Division III National Championships.
The women’s squad will be bolstered by the returns of sophomores Beth Sauder (Oakland, Md./Southern Garrett) and Katy Eads (West Point, Iowa/Central Lee), who both earned All-AMCC honors a year ago. Sauder finished sixth at the AMCC Championships, while Eads was 10th and broke 22 minutes at the NCAA Division III Mid-East Region Championships, where the Bobcats finished 19th out of a tough 35-team field.
Newcomers include junior Serena Wheeler (Baltimore, Md./Mergenthaler), who transferred from Hagerstown Community College, and freshman Sarah Valenta (Frostburg, Md.).
Despite the overall youth on both squads, Lowe thinks his group will hit the ground running, with a very short period of adjustment.
"We will be focusing mainly on the development of these young runners as they make the transition to collegiate training and competition," said Lowe. "The summer training conducted by the individual members has been very solid."
The 2001 schedule features a mix small and large meets, with the emphasis on the larger invitationals in preparation for a strong performance at the NCAA Division III Mid-East Regional Championship. Lowe has his team competing against some of the top teams in the region during the regular season with postseason success in mind.
"The regional meet is our NCAA Championships qualifier consisting of over 40 Division III teams from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Delaware," Lowe explained. "As a result, we’ll be heading to Pennsylvania a lot more this season in order to see these teams and to develop some competitive rivalries."
Lowe hopes that experience will benefit both squads in their quest to reach the NCAA National Championships. The men’s team qualified for the national meet from 1996-98, while the women are seeking their first appearance.
"All of team members want to get back to nationals badly," said Lowe, himself an eight-time All-American with NCAA Division II Shippensburg (Pa.) University and the 1992 10,000-meter outdoor national champion. "It’s not a major focus for us this season, but it is a goal that all of these young FSU runners have for future seasons."
In the meantime, Lowe is excited about the potential on both sides.
"This team is extremely conscientious and hard working. I believe we have the beginning of a very successful team in the years to come."
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303