Monday, July 29, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown Women's #25- North Carolina State

Editor's note: For the next month, The Wood Report will be counting down projected team finishes in this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN.

North Carolina State
Head Coach: Laurie Henes (8th Season)
2012 National Finish- N/A

Key Returners from 2012
  • Laura Hoer (Sr., 9:33 Open 3k,16:29)
  • Joanna Thompson (Jr., 16:13, 33:49)
  • Samantha George (So., 4:25, 9:38)
  • Samantha Norman (Sr., 4:27, 10:15 3k Steeple)

Season Preview

After being one of the first teams not to qualify for the 2012 National Championships in Louisville, NC State returns in 2013 with stronger, more experienced runners, and one harrier ready to finish off her career the right way. 

A third place finish in any regional championship does not necessarily always mean you will advance to the big dance, but generally if you have planned the season correctly and earned enough credential points, your team moves on. In the case of NC State in 2012, they just did not have enough points to get their squad there. Now motivated more than ever before this Wolfpack is loaded with veterans that should be able to do just that. 

Joanna Thompson is the teams returning leader after a quite successful and break-out year as a sophomore. Thompson was able to place high in the ACC and Southeast Regional championships for the Pack. Thompson also had a very good track season turning in nice times in the 5k and 10k which generally proves to be a good sign the following cross country season. 

The two Samantha's, George and Norman, are also very experienced cross country runners with solid track credentials, that will be essential to this teams success. There is nothing more important than having a front-runner and a pack to follow that can keep the spread tight. George and Norman will be counted on to do just that. The two runners come from different sides of the distance running spectrum George more of a mid-distance type, and Norman more of a 5k runner, but both will need to step up in order for this team to make a splash at NCAAs. 

The darkhorse of this team is Laura Hoer. Now some of you may not have heard of Hoer because she has been off of the radar for a few years battling injuries. Hoer is back for her senior year and is capable of some outstanding things. She has been All-American (2010), the Southeast Regional Champion (2010), All-Southeast Region (2010, 2011) and boasts some very quality track PRs. 

For the Wolfpack to make a legitimate push to qualify out of the Southeast Regional in 2013, Hoer will need to be healthy and use her strong xc racing experience to help push the pace up front with Joanna Thompson. With Duke being loaded and William and Mary also very good, NC State will need to earn the points necessary to move on. 

Hopefully 2013 is not a repeat of 2012 and the Wolfpack can run well early on and do what is necessary to get this quality program back to Terre Haute in November. 

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