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2018 Stevenson Women's Cross Country Preview Mustangs Return strong core in 2018

The Stevenson women’s cross country team opens the 2018 season on Friday when it hosts the annual Mustang Stampede on the Greenspring campus. With a talented group of returners, fifth-year head coach Dave Berdan feels like he enters the season with his deepest and best team, with a chance to turn some heads in the Middle Atlantic Conference and regionally.

“We definitely have our deepest and best team back on the women’s side,” said Berdan. “Finishing in the top five at the conference championship is the goal, and to post our best-ever finish at the (NCAA) regional.”

Senior Kelly Winklbauer is the leading returner for the Mustangs. Last season, she placed fifth at the MAC Championship in late October, then finished 31st at the NCAA regional meet, but it was discovered after the meet that she ran with a stress fracture in her foot.

Kelly Winklbauer

“Her goal is to finish higher at the MAC championship this season and at the regionals and potentially qualify for nationals,” said Berdan. No Stevenson female cross country runner has ever qualified for the NCAA Championship.

Other top returners for the performers include junior Achol Odolla and sophomores Cassandra Morris and Emily Gates. Odolla earned MAC Second Team honors after placing 17th, while Gates just missed out on All-Conference by placing 31st. Morris finished 46th out of a field of 145.

Berdan also will look to senior Kayla Bias to return to her form of two seasons ago in which she placed 33rd at the MAC Championship, while he also feels that freshman Mikhayla Sabo can contribute right away. Sabo played soccer in high school and is running cross country for the first time.

Achol Odolla

The Mustangs posted their best-ever finish at a regional meet in 2015, placing 22nd out of 50 scoring teams at the meet hosted by Dickinson. The goal this year is to move into the top 20.

“If you look at our region, it is the biggest region, and there are over 70 teams there, including teams that just have individuals, so to place in the top 20 would be a big deal,” said Berdan.

In addition to the season opener as well as the Shannon Henretty Invitational on September 8, the Mustangs will host the MAC Championship for the first time on Saturday, October 27 on the Greenspring campus, giving it home course advantage at the meet.

“We’re racing on our course twice, we have the opportunity to work out on it whenever we want. They don’t all necessarily love the course, but they’ll know it,” said Berdan.

In addition to the first two events at home, the Mustangs will compete at Salisbury’s Don Cathcart Invitational at the end of September and will travel to Orlando on October 6 to compete at the Disney Cross Country Classic. The NCAA regional meet is slated for November 10 at DeSales.

Credits:

Sabina Moran

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