Tide gets set for 2003 season with lots of new faces on the rosterTuesday, September 02, 2003
The Alabama Women’s Cross Country team will have lots of new faces when it lines up for the Belmont Opener to start the 2003 season.
With senior Virnetta Greene, the Tide’s top runner from a year ago, probably sidelined from off-season surgery, third year cross country coach Steve Keith is likely to field a competitive lineup that includes five freshmen and two sophomores among its top-seven.
With 13 athletes toeing the line at the start of the season, Keith has his numbers closer to where he would like them, and much healthier than the eight athletes at his disposal his first season at the Capstone.
“I’d like to get to the point where we have 16 to 18 athletes on the team,” Keith said. “But growing the numbers takes time, because you want to make sure that you have quality numbers.”
Ottawa, Ontario native Julia Hicks and Tara Enebak from Auburn, Ala. highlight a particularly strong freshmen class. Hicks competed for Canada at the 2003 World Cross Country Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. Enebak has won four Alabama 6A state titles, including the cross country and the 3200m title as a senior.
Keith also added Mobile, Ala. native Elizabeth Wancowicz, who holds the Alabama 6-A State High School record in the 800m and 1600m runs. She was also a three-year all-state cross country runner. Jill Bryant is another Alabama state champion making her way to the Tide’s distance fold. Bryant, a Scottsboro native, was the 5A state champion in the 800 and 1600m runs as well as the state record holder in the mile. Dalton, Ga. native Meg Carnes, a relative newcomer to cross country, earned All-Area honors in cross country last year in only her second season.
Blair Davis will lead the Tide’s rookies. Davis was strong at points last season and should make an even bigger impact this year. Also looking striving for a spot in the Tide’s competitive seven will be senior Kara Nowak, juniors Tricia Bohan, Amy Henderson and Ashley Roberts and sophomores Meghan Bates and Shannon Flournoy.
In addition to being high on his young team, Keith also likes the way the Tide’s schedule plays out. Competing every other weekend, Alabama will also have an opportunity to mix in some training runs after competitions.
“Especially early in the season, with such a young team, we’re going to need all the miles we can fit in,” Keith said. “Our first couple of away meets not only will test us in terms of competition, but the next day we will be able to get in training runs on good courses as well, which will help us tremendously.”
The women will again open up the season at the Belmont Opener in Nashville season and will start the championship season off at the SEC Championships in Athens, Ga. before moving on to the NCAA Region Championships held in Auburn, Ala.