Source: Sherman Publications

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Girls cross country is young

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

September 05, 2012

Juniors Lexie Mansour, Anne Schnurpfeil, seniors Molly Emerick Patty Babich, junior Anna Dietz, freshman Emily Fluent, sophomores Kylie Barber, Danielle Carr, Erin Womack and junior Casey Striibell. In front is Coach Debi McDonald. Photo by G. Ouzounian
It happens to even the best high school sports teams - people graduate and sometimes a team is left without experience.

This is the case for the Varsity Girl's Cross Country team, but head coach Debi McDonald believes the team has potential. Part of that potential comes from the size of the team (the second largest she has ever had) and their finish last year.

"Last year was the most runners I've had so this is probably my highest returning runners," she said. "It will help because they saw they finished last year so they have a benchmark to improve on. There are people who are not satisfied with JV - they want a varsity slot and that will help drive them."

The team has not finalized yet, but numbers will be close to 2011's 60 girl roster.

Notable runners this year include sophomores Madz Hamm who is working back from soccer-related injuries, Erin Womack and Danielle Carr, the latter two of which missed qualifying for states by one and two spots.

From the juniors comes Casey Stribell who put in a lot of millage during the summer in running camps and Anna Dietz who would be a great asset to the team according to McDonald, providing she can remain injury free.

On the senior roster are Patty Babich and Molly Emerick. Both have been on varsity for four years and understand the what it takes to win smart races. Both are captains this year, a position awarded to them for their tendency to go out of their way to help first year runners make sure they know what's going on.

They also make sure everyone is still having fun.

"I think the girls I mentioned will help make the team really strong - it might be hard for others to break into the top seven positions this year," said McDonald. "They're going to have more confidence going into their races by looking at their performances last year. They just weren't as aware last year but now they know they have the potential. They won't doubt their abilities as much."

The girls finished sixth out of 14 teams at the Oakland University meet on Aug. 31. The girls have their first match on Sept. 8 at the Bloomfield Brother Rice Invitational at Kensington Metro Park in Milford.