What's Ahead: The Drake women's cross country squad travels to Normal, Ill., to compete in the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday (Oct. 27). The 5-kilometer race, hosted by Illinois State at the Weibring Golf Club, will start at 10:30 a.m.
The Bulldogs are led by the lone senior on the roster, fifth-year senior Kirsten Lake (Parker, Colo.) She has led the squad in each of the races she has competed in this season, including winning the Bulldog Classic on August 31, as well as setting a personal best of 21:37 on a 6-kilometer course last weekend at the Bradley Invite.
The Bulldogs' success this season has been fueled by a talented freshmen class.
Freshman Celeste Arteaga (Rock Island, Ill.) won the Grand View Invitational in September, while Taylor Scholl (Prior Lake, Minn.), Emma Huston (Des Moines, Iowa), Cassie Aerts (David City, Neb.) and Emma Johnson (Mora, Minn.) have all had top seven finishes in team scoring this season.
"For our women, this will be the first MVC Championship for half of the squad competing." Hostager said. "We've got so many new faces this fall that it will be great to see how they stack up against the Valley competition."
Bulldogs Picked Seventh in Pre-Meet Poll: With 40 points, Drake was selected to finish seventh at the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championship, according to the pre-meet coaches poll released Tuesday (Oct. 23).
After winning last year's championship and being this year's preseason favorite, Illinois State claimed the top spot with 96 points and six first-place votes. Wichita State took three first-place votes, earning 86 points and the second spot in the poll.
Bradley and Southern Illinois tied for third with 75 points. Indiana State was fifth with 53 and UNI sixth with 45.
The Bulldogs were seventh with 40 points to edge Missouri State, 10 behind with 30. Evansville and Creighton closed out the list with 28 and 17 points, respectively.
Last Time Out: Drake ended its regular season campaign with a host of impressive individual performances at the Bradley Classic, Friday, Oct. 12. The meet, run on a 6-kilometer course at the Newman Golf Course in Peoria, Ill., saw all but one Bulldog run a personal best.
The team was again led by Lake, who finished in 13th place in 21:37. Although the team finished in 11th place in the field of 21, Lake was happy with her teammate's performances.
"There were a lot of big personal records so everyone was really happy with how they performed," Lake said. "I think the team is more confident to compete well at the conference meet."
Freshmen Scholl, Huston and Aerts followed Lake to the finish line.
Scholl finished 39th in a time of 22:02. Huston was half a minute behind at 22:36, coming in 70th. Aerts crossed the line 87th in 22:50 and was closely followed by sophomore Mariel Fulton (Louisville, Colo.) in 22:51 to round out the scoring.
Junior Amanda Marwitz (Crystal Lake, Ill.) ran the difficult course in 22:56 to finish in 94th place, while Arteaga crossed the line in 22:59, placing 103rd.
Junior Allie Heifner crossed the line 133rd in 23:18 while Erin Dobey (Evergreen, Colo.) was the 149th runner to finish in 23:36. Sophomore Stephanie Parks (Norfolk, Neb.) was four spots behind in 153rd in 23:37.
The freshmen tandem of Johnson, 24:03, and Laura Gann (Wheaton, Ill.), 24:30, came in at 172th and 186th place, respectively, to finish out the impressive individual performances by the Bulldogs.
A Year Ago: Fulton paced the Drake women's contingent that finished ninth at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championship hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind.
Fulton finished the 5-kilometer course in 18:58 in 29th-place. Lake, who was the only upperclassmen competing for the Bulldogs, was 46th crossing the finish line in 19:21.
Freshman Melissa Parks (Norfolk, Neb.) ran the hilly course in 19:29 to come in 48th. Marwitz and Erin Poss (Antioch, Ill.), who had times of 19:45 and 20:05, respectively, helped round out the top-five for Drake.
The team title was won by Illinois State with Wichita State finishing