After finishing thirteenth at last year’s Big East Championship and fourteenth at ECAC Championships, this season’s cross-country squad will look towards several key returnees and a promising freshman class to emerge on top of a competitive Big East Conference.
A foursome of upperclassmen consisting of seniors Michelle Duffy, Alexis Bean, Marisela Acevedo and junior Chelsea Trant take over the roles of last year’s trio cast of seniors: Samantha Meyerhoff, Nicolle Cocozza and Aryon Trujillo. Incoming freshmen Kerri Butler, Ashlin Conroy and twin sisters Michelle and Stephanie Van Pelt will be relied on to bolster the upperclassmen.
“We’re definitely going to be missing them. But I have hope that some of the juniors and seniors will step it up and that some of the freshmen will come in and contribute, as well,” said Coach Jim Hurt. “Staying healthy as the year goes on so that we have all our runners ready for the championships will be the key to a successful year.”
Duffy, a redshirt senior, has been recovering from a knee injury, while Chelsea, a metropolitan 10k champion as a freshman, has battled through illnesses during her sophomore year and is on her way back to form.
Rounding out the upperclassmen foursome, Bean comes off a seventh place finish in the 4x800m relay in last spring’s ECAC championship and Acevedo, a second-year transfer from Sullivan Community College, has steadily improved and will add to the team’s depth.
Also adding to the depth are the Van Pelt twins along with fellow teammates Butler and Conray, all successful high school runners.
“Talent-wise, this year’s squad is just as good or better based off talent alone,” said Coach Hurt. “We have a strong core and hopefully we can build off that.”
The team will travel to Bethpage State Park for the Hofstra Invitational to begin the new season.