|Wooster's women's team will receive a big boost with the return of senior captains Emani Kelley and Collier Summay, who were both studying abroad last season.|
The College of Wooster women's cross country team appears poised for a run up the standings in the challenging North Coast Athletic Conference, and with a more-seasoned veteran core in place to pair with a talented first-year class, veteran head coach Dennis Rice is optimistic that his program is well positioned not only for this season, but for the future as well.
"The women's team is really exciting and has great, great potential to do big things," summed up Rice. "We have a great core of women coming back who have valuable experience over the time they've been here. If we can tie in the group of first-years who are coming in, and work together as a team with our concept, we'll have great success. If the seniors can set the tone with a strong work ethic from the time they come in for camp week and extend throughout the season, this is going to be an exciting year for us."
Wooster's team will have a big boost from the get-go with the return of senior captains Emani Kelley and Collier Summay, both of whom missed the 2017 season due to studying abroad. Earlier in their careers, the duo were staples in the Scots' top seven, and Kelley's success carries over to the track where she's a mainstay on Wooster's top relays.
"With those two, I'm expecting big things, not only in terms of leadership, but also with the competitive atmosphere we want to create within the team concept," said Rice. "I feel very strongly that those two can really do some exciting things this season, and make a strong, strong impact at the championship level when it's time for the NCACs and Great Lakes Regional. I feel confident they made a big jump in their training they put in this summer, and it's going to really propel them into an exciting senior season."
Sophomore Zoe Covey headlines the 2017 returning letterwinners, and the then-rookie stepped up in a big way at the NCAC Championships with a team-best 23:51.3 and a placement in the top half of the field. Fellow rookie Emma Busch, wasn't far behind at 24:36.4, good for the third-best time on the team.
"Zoe and Emma had excellent first years here and gained valuable experience," summed up Rice. "If they can stay healthy and make that big jump I expect them to make, they should make a strong impact, not only on our team, but at NCACs and the NCAA regional championships."
Junior, Cobi Warstler, and two-year staple in the top seven, could be poised for a breakthrough year, and Rice noted, "she has to really step up and mix in with the top seven. Our top seven will fluctuate throughout the season, so she'll need to keep her confidence throughout the season to ultimately peak at the conference and regional championships."
"I expect this group to work hard throughout the season and challenge to impact the program in a positive way by their daily training habits, commitment to the program, and the overall success we want to achieve as a team," summed up Rice.
Several first-years could factor heavily into the top seven spots this fall, as Rice noted the program "had a very solid year recruiting."
Rice will get a first look at his Scots' blend of veterans and newcomers at the program's annual season-opening Wooster Invitational on Friday, Aug. 31 at L.C. Boles Golf Course.
"Now, we just need to become a championship-type of team," stated Rice on his expectations for the women's squad. "That starts with training, working harder than any other program, and developing the competitive atmosphere we want."