The Wolfpacker

September 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 65 of 95

Healthy Outlook The Return Of Three Former All-Americans And A A Strong Nucleus Could Boost The Pack In A Competitive ACC C By Bruce Winkworth autious optimism is the mood of the day as the NC State women's cross country team approaches the upcoming 2013 season. State returns a solid nucleus from a year ago, including three All-ACC performers. An excellent 2012 freshman class is now experienced and very talented sophomores. Several veterans appear ready to move from reserves to contributors, a solid group of incoming freshmen could offer help, and three former All-Americans are back after missing time with physical issues. ■PREVIEW women's Cross country Add it all up and the Wolfpack could be significantly better in 2013. That optimism is tempered by caution, however, because the same can be said for much of the rest of the ACC. Florida State and Duke finished in the top 10 a year ago. Boston College was 19th. Newcomer Notre Dame was 15th. Syracuse is a perennial power. Across-theboard improvement could make for a brutal ACC Championships race Nov. 1. "The expansion of the ACC makes the conference meet quite different on the women's side," Wolfpack head coach Laurie Henes said. "There are so many schools in the ACC that will be at a high level." Noting The Pack • Conference expansion will significantly alter the profile of ACC cross country on the women's side. In particular, Notre Dame and Syracuse both have been to three of the last four NCAA Championships, with the Irish finishing 15th a year ago. Syracuse finished 10th in 2010. With the ACC now including schools from four different NCAA regions, teams will be able to earn criteria points at the conference race, which does not determine an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championships. • Samantha George became NC State's fifth ACC Freshman of the Year on the women's side when she captured the award in 2012. The conference began awarding Freshman of the Year in 1998, and the first winner was the Wolfpack's Jennifer Modliszewski. State now is tied with Duke for most top freshmen by any individual ACC school. In addition to George and Modliszewski, Bona Jones (2006), Colleen Wetherbee (2007) and Laura Hoerr (2011) won ACC Freshman of the Year honors for the Wolfpack. Samantha George notched a 13th-place finish at the ACC Championships, earned All-ACC accolades and was named the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2012. photo by Cheryl Treworgy/nc state media relations ■ Key Meets To Watch • Roy Griak Invitational, Sept. 27, Minneapolis — One of the nation's most prestigious races and the first of three meets in which NC State will be able to earn criteria points for qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The women finished third at the NCAA Southeast Regional last year, then missed an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships by one criteria point. • Wisconsin Invitational, Oct. 19, Madison, Wis. — Another headline national-caliber race and another chance to earn major criteria points for NCAA qualifying. • ACC Championships, Nov. 1, Charlottesville,Va. — With the ACC expanding to include Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame this season, the conference meet not only crowns the league champion, but offers one final chance to earn criteria points before the NCAA regionals. 66  ■  the wolfpacker 66,68.Women's Cross Country Preview.indd 66 8/23/13 2:48 PM

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