2000 Women's Cross Country Outlook
Sept. 1, 2000
The 2000 women's cross country team will depend on the strength of its veteran runners as it aims to improve upon last years fifth place finish at the Big West Championships. The Aggies return seven letterwinners from last years team and add to the roster four freshmen and one junior college transfer.
The Aggies most significant loss from 1999 was the graduation of senior Angie Winkler. Winkler was the top Aggie finisher in every race last year and capped off a successful career earning all-conference honors, finishing fifth at the 1999 Big West Championships.
"Our women's team is inexperienced except our first couple of runners, but they are very good," said head coach Gregg Gensel.
Seniors Beka Leffler and Rebekah Thornley are expected to anchor the Aggie squad. Leffler was USU's second finisher in four meets last year with her highest finish, fifth, coming at the Idaho State Invitational. Thornley returned after redshirting the 1998 season to run in every race for Utah State last year. Her best performance came at the Big West Championships where she narrowly missed all-conference honors placing ninth overall.
"I think that if anybody could win the conference from our women's team Rebekah Thornley has the oppurtunity," said Gensel. "She is very driven and a very hard worker. As long as she stays healthy I think she is going to be somebody to contend with at the conference championship."
Also returning are juniors Shae Messersmith, Amber Tubb, and Amber Jensen, and sophomore Carol Cabanillas. Messersmith was the only sophomore to run in every meet last year and had a high finish of 10th at the Utah State Invitational. Tubb also had her best finish of the year at the Utah State Invitational placing 31st overall. Amber Jensen competed in just the first two meets of the season while Cabanillas raced in three meets including the Big West Championships.
The incoming class of 2000 includes transfer Melanie McClellan (Orem, Utah), and freshmen Taralynn Dunn (Payson, Utah), Sharee Hatch (Wellsville, Utah), Christy Howell (Spanish Fork, Utah) and Jami Valentine (Kaysville, Utah).