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Muhlenberg College

Friday, October 31, 2008

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Women’s basketball

Championship Preview
Cross country teams hope to heat up
conference championships

While most people in Allentown bundled up with heavy clothing or stayed indoors when the temperatures approached the freezing mark earlier this week, the members of the Muhlenberg cross country teams donned running gear and braved the elements in preparation for the Centennial Conference Championships.

The conditions are expected to be quite a bit better when the Mule teams take the line at Gettysburg tomorrow – temperatures in the high 40s and sunny. Not shorts and tank top weather for most, but no big deal for the runners.

“It’s something that we anticipate every year. This is more like cross country weather – it’s an ugly sport,” said women’s co-captain Alaina Ferretti. “You get the
Melissa Ugelow
Ugelow finished 26th overall, ahead of 37 Division I and II runners, at Lafayette.
thickest spandex possible, and as long as you can move around in what you’re wearing, you’re good to go.”

“Once the gun goes off and you get your body warmed up, it’s not a problem,” said David Chorney, a men’s co-captain. “It was really cold at regionals last year and we ran well.”

Ferretti and Chorney, who hail from Maine and New Hampshire, respectively, might have a different perspective on the weather than their teammates, but there’s no doubting that as the air has gotten colder, the Muhlenberg teams have heated up.

The women had perhaps their best race of the year two weeks ago at the Lafayette’s Leopard
Rob Nihen
Nihen was the third Mule across the finish line at last year’s CC race.
Invitational, finishing fifth as the only Division III school in a field of eight.

“We had a lot of injuries and sicknesses midseason that had us worried, but everyone is coming back at the same time,” noted Ferretti.

The Mules, who finished seventh at the 2007 CC meet, will field a young team. There are no seniors, Ferretti and Lauren Conicella are the lone juniors, and the rest of the squad is comprised of sophomores and freshmen.

Sophomore Kate Mahoney and freshman Melissa Ugelow have been the Mules’ top two runners, with sophomore Kim Bier and freshman Sarah Lawrence also enjoying solid seasons.

“We’re pretty excited. I think it’s going to be a good weekend,” said Ferretti.

After seniors Chorney, Timothy VanSyckle and Stuart Udis, the men also are fairly young. “We’re gaining experience with every race,” said Chorney.

Two runners who bring plenty of experience – and success – are VanSyckle and Chorney. They finished sixth and 10th, respectively, at last year’s CC Championships and went on to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Muhlenberg will be challenged to keep alive its streak of eight consecutive top-four finishes in what promises to be a competitive race. Haverford (14th), Dickinson (16th) and Johns Hopkins (29th) are all nationally ranked, and host Gettysburg is ranked seventh in the region. The Mules are ninth.

“I think we have a lot to prove,” said Chorney. “We’re plenty capable of beating some of those teams, even though we may not have yet.”

For that to happen, the Mules will need good races from junior Patrick Thornton, sophomores Bobby Torphy and Rob Nihen and freshman Steven Monteleone. The lone time that quartet and the three seniors competed together in the same race, Muhlenberg beat Gettysburg by 20 points at the Paul Short Run.

The men’s 8K race is scheduled for 11 a.m., followed at noon by the women’s 6K. For more information, please visit the CC championship Web site.

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