LANCASTER, Pa. – Depth and an influx of talent from a freshmen class that figures to have multiple runners contribute early in the season has Franklin and Marshall's head coach of women's cross country John Stoudt excited about 2012.
"The depth of our roster is key to our success this year as we look to improve upon last years 21st-place finish at the Mid-East Regionals," said Stoudt. "The freshmen class, and how they transition to college life and athletics could be the key to our success this season, although it doesn't hurt to have a Sheena Crawley around."
Few coaches are awarded the luxury of having an All-American runner on their team. However, Stoudt has just that in senior Sheena Crawley. For the past two seasons, Crawley has been named First Team All-Centennial Conference. Last year, she became the first F&M athlete since 1985 to receive All-America recognition. At the NCAA Cross Country Championships, she finished in 11th place, completing the 6K course with a time of 21:22.36.
In October, Crawley recorded a first-place finish at Delaware. She led F&M to a second-place finish by being the first of five Diplomats to finish in the top-20. The senior came within a second of winning the Mid-East Regionals, completing the course in the runner-up spot with a time of 22:34.
Adding to the depth of the team will be returning seniors Lauren Dever, Mary Kate Shelley and Bridget Grogan. The best finish of the season for Dever came at the Coach Achtzehn Classic, where she came in 11th. Shelley was the second Diplomat to finish at the Mid-East Regional, ending with a time of 25:57. Grogan rounded out the top-seven at the event with a time of 27:46. Sophomore Jessica Love returns after a successful freshman campaign that culminated with a fourth-place finish among F&M runners at regionals.
Other key returners include seniors Alexis Teevens and Kara Doolan, as well as sophomore Kim Hilfrank. Junior Katie Allison joins the cross country team after participating on the track squad for the past two seasons.
"I expect no less than 12 to 13 girls to factor into competition for our top seven this year, including at least five or six freshmen," said Stoudt.
The Diplomats kick off their season Sept. 1 at Millersville. The meet begins at 10:00 a.m.