Sometimes one year can make all the difference.
After a 2012 season in which they often struggled to field an entire team, the Lane women’s cross-country team capped off its 2013 season by placing third at the Nov. 9 NWAACC Championships in Battleground, Wash.
“The way we had been running, I thought maybe we had a chance to steal this thing,” Lane head coach Mike Blackmore said. “But I thought our women’s team just ran awesome.”
Community Colleges of Spokane was crowned champions for the first time since 2008 and sophomore Jessica Miles won her second consecutive individual championship for the Sasquatch, cruising to victory in 17:51.
As has been the trend this season, the Titans were lead by freshman Katy Potter, who finished second in 18:34.
“My strategy was to try to stick with Jessica,” Potter said. “I wanted try to get first or try to PR on the course.”
Freshman Nicole Maurmann finished second for the Titans and 10th overall in 19:40, and freshman Alli Cross finished 17th in 20:07
Freshman Kristine Dunn placed 20th in 20:17, and freshman Chelsea Spencer finished 23rd in 20:22 to round out Lane’s top five, giving the Titans a total of 72 points.
Sophomore Macaulay Wilson was consistently the Titans’ second fastest runner all season, but finished 25th overall in 20:28 at Battleground, well below her season personal best.
“Macaulay just had a rough day, and even she’s not sure why,” Blackmore said. “She ended up being our sixth finisher instead of our second, but overall we just ran really great.”
After the race, a disappointed Wilson said she was proud of the way her team raced.
“I’m happy with the team. They all ran very well.” Wilson said. “We were hoping to place higher but it just wasn’t our day.”
After finishing seventh out of eight teams at last year’s championship, the Titans made a monumental improvement this season.
Wilson placed 31st in 2012 and was the Titans’ top finisher; this year, every Titan finished 30th or higher.
“I’m not gonna take all the credit for their success,” Blackmore said. “I got some great athletes and some of them had been in programs where they didn’t get a lot of experience. Now they’ve had the chance to be part of a team that trains well together and likes each other.”
“That makes a big difference,” he added.
Next season the Titans will have a chance to build on this year’s success.
The Titans expect the entire team to return, with the exception of Wilson and Spencer.
Spencer is a first-year student, but will be on track to graduate this year because of credits she earned during her time at the Air Force Academy.
“We’re gonna take the six ladies that we have and go forward with track season,” Blackmore said. “Hopefully find a couple more next year to fill in for Chelsea and Macaulay and see what we can do.”