Women's Cross Country Prepares For NCAA Title Defense

November 17, 2004

11/17/04 - The Middlebury College women's cross country team will look for its fourth NCAA Championship this weekend when they travel to <?xml:namespace prefix = "st1" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Wisconsin for the 2004 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be the host school for the races on Saturday, November 20th.

The women's team will look for its second back-to-back NCAA Championship after winning the NCAA crown in '00, '01 and '03. The Panthers finished in a first place tie with Williams at the NESCAC Championship this season, while topping the Ephs last weekend to capture the NCAA Regional title.

Senior Jessica Manzer is the Panthers top runner, earning All-American status in each of the previous three seasons. She placed 13th at the NCAA's in her first year, 14th as a sophomore, and seventh a year ago. If she earns the honor this weekend, she will become the first racer in school history to accomplish the feat in four years. Prior to Manzer, Dorcas DenHartog won All-American honors three times, capturing the '85 individual title. Manzer placed third at this year's open N.E.'s, second at NESCAC's and second at last weekend's NCAA Regional.

Senior Marisa Cawley is enjoying a great year, including a seventh place finish at the NESCAC meet. She one-upped that performance by coming in fourth at the NCAA Regionals a week ago. Sophomore Andrea Giddings placed 10th at NESCAC's and 11th at the NCAA Regional last weekend, earning her the #3 slot. Junior Kelsey Rinehart has been solid at #4 all season, finishing 18th last week. Sophomore Makely Lyon has moved to the #5 slot on the team with improving performances all season. First-year racer Ceara Danaher has turned in some solid performances all year, earning her the sixth slot on this year's NCAA team. Sophomore Stephanie Nugent holds down the final slot on the NCAA squad, with a solid 21st place finish at this year's NESCAC meet.

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