BANNER ELK, NC - The Lees-McRae College Women's Cross Country has answered the question which haunted them in the past . . . depth. With seven new faces joining four returnees the Bobcats have satisfied their need to have a quality, talented, dedicated group of young women.
"It has been difficult to get women to run cross country, but this year the ladies did a fantastic job of hosting recruits and really helping us get the type of young women we need to have success this year," said Head Coach Craig McPhail, who is heading into his 8th season at the helm of the cross country teams.
Last year was a disappointing year for the Bobcats as they did not finish in the top 3 for the first time in McPhail's career. "We had some untimely injuries and they set us back and messed up our training," McPhail said. "It was never easy for us as we struggled all year, but I think now with this group and our enthusiasm about what we can accomplish, we have forgotten last year and ready to make this year very special."
The help that has arrived is in the form of Dana Lindholm (Weaverville, NC), Carla Swart (Buford, GA), Gina Valenti (Washington, NC), and Ashley May (Chilhowie, VA). "These young women have had success in high school and bring experience in big races to us," McPhail said.
There are four returnees who will also play a key role into how far the Bobcats go this year. Seniors, Claire Weeks (Pine Level, NC) and Casey Willis (Vale, NC) are looking to go out in style with their second conference championship in four years. Demarea Colson (Chesapeake, VA) finished in 15th place last year and was named All-CVAC. Kathleen Wilkerson (Rock Hill, SC) should also factor into the success the Bobcats have this year. "I am excited about our potential. The women have really worked hard and have a lot of goals they want to accomplish this year," McPhail says.
The Bobcats women's squad has garnered the CVAC crown in five of his seven years. There have been 23 All-CVAC runners in this time and one individual champion.
Lees-McRae's first race will be Friday, September 1st at
5:45 p.m. for the women