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Muhlenberg College

Thursday, October 25, 2007

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Football, Men’s soccer

Championship Preview
with or without ribbons,
cross country teams ready

In the sea of runners that you will see at the Centennial Conference championship meet this Saturday, it will be easy to pick out the women representing Muhlenberg. Just look for the matching red hair ribbons. And after you have found those women wearing the bright red ribbons, keep an eye on them because their performances might be worth remembering.

With a team consisting of just four seniors and eight
Laura Lipari and Janette Adams
Lipari (left) and Adams both finished in the top 30 at the CC Championships last year.
freshmen, the Muhlenberg women’s cross country team knows it has a lot to prove this weekend at Franklin & Marshall. After being ranked ninth in the region, the women are looking to improve on their ranking and to have a strong showing at the conference meet.

When asked about how the team has seen so much success despite having as many freshmen as upperclassmen, senior captain Laura Clinton summed it up in two words: “Think Team.” This motto has worked wonders for the team, as Clinton goes on to say, “This is such a cohesive team and everyone gets along. This team is probably the best team we have ever had.”

Fellow senior Sara Gearin, who has been the team’s top runner, feels the same way Clinton does: “We are a very good team, but we are also aware of how good the competition is this year.” In fact, the competition from the Centennial Conference holds five of the eight rankings ahead of the Mules. The competition in the conference and the youth on the women’s team might worry some about how well the team will do this weekend. But don’t tell that to this team.

“The lack of experience doesn’t matter to us. The freshmen have shown what they can do and I am confident that we will have a strong showing this weekend and hopefully in the future races,” Gearin says.

And this team does have a bright future, regardless of the outcomes of this weekend.
Patrick Thornton
Thornton finished 16th at the DeSales Invitational in the Mules’ last meet.
Look for strong performances from freshmen Abby Simons, Kim Bier and Kate Mahoney, sophomore Lauren Conicella, juniors Janette Adams and Laura Lipari, and seniors Gearin, Clinton and Christy Goff. The women are scheduled to start the race at 11:00.

On the men’s side, their story is somewhat similar to the women’s, minus the hair ribbons.

With just one senior and eight freshmen, the Muhlenberg men’s team is ranked eighth in the region, and out of the seven ranked ahead of them, four are in the Centennial Conference. But rankings are just numbers and the men are looking to have a close race with some of the best competition that the Centennial Conference has ever seen.

Junior captain David Chorney knows that the team will face stiff competition but he also has faith in his young team. “The freshmen have been looking real good in workouts and there have been a couple of times when we needed people to step up this season and they have responded.”

Just look at the DeSales race two weeks ago. When the Mules second runner was out (junior Timothy Van Syckle), the third through sixth runners were all freshmen: Adam Kingsbury, Rob Nihen, Bobby Torphy and Matt Lauletti.

As far as nerves, Chorney offers this advice to the young team: “The thing I’ve learned after two years of racing in college is that you have to stay relaxed before the race and think of this race being like any other race. At the end of the race is when you have to really push the pace because that’s when everyone else is feeling uncomfortable.” Staying relaxed and laying everything on the line at the end of the race will be key for Muhlenberg to have success this weekend.

Also working in the Mules’ favor was running on the Franklin & Marshall course last week. “We did a workout on the course so we know what it feels like to run fast on it,” Chorney says.

Contributing to the team effort will be senior Joseph Brancale, sophomore Patrick Thornton, and juniors Chorney, Van Syckle and Stuart Udis. The men are scheduled to run at noon on Saturday.

Click here for the championship meet page.

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