Saturday, July 27, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Women's #27- New Mexico

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.

New Mexico
Head Coach: Joe Franklin (7th Season)
2012 National Finish- 10th

Key Returners from 2012
  • Charlotte Arter (Sr., 4:16,16:20)
  • Kirsten Follett (Jr., 16:45)
  • Chloe Anderson (Sr., 4:19)
  • Janna Mitsos (Sr., 16:28)
Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • Joanne Harvey (Sr., 4:17, 9;13 Open 3k)
Season Preview

Only three of the top seven girls from 2012s 10th place team return for 2013 and the bad news for all the teams in the Mountain West and the Mountain regional is that these Lobos could be just as good this year as last. Granted they are ranked #27 going into the season, purely due to the fact that only one of the returners from 2012 actually scored for New Mexico at the big time meets. 

Never fear Lobo fans, with Joe Franklin at the helm, your teams will always reload. Franklin is the master of finding recruits to come to Albuquerque at the blink of an eye from the U.K. (or anywhere else) and instantly make an impact in their top five. 

With Charlotte Arter returning for her senior year to lead the Lobos she must take on the leadership role that Imogen Ainsworth performed so well in during the 2012 season. Arter is coming off of a good track season where she finished 14th overall in the 1500m. With her ability in cross and her range on the track she can be dangerous and will be counted on to lead this somewhat inexperienced crew. 

Chloe Anderson also returns for the Lobos with momentum after having a very good year on the track in comparison to her cross country season. Anderson struggled to find a rhythm in cross during the 2012 season, but hit her stride (literally) during the spring outdoor track season where she found herself at the Outdoor National Championships in the 1500m and placed 15th individually. If she can be the athlete she was in track out on the xc course, she will be a significant force at the front of the pack.

Follett and Mitsos both had outstanding track seasons with the two of the breaking huge PRs in the 5000m and will be looked up on to anchor the Lobos 1-5 and keep the spread as close as possible. 

The one harrier who could make the biggest impact in 2013 is Joanne Harvey who did not compete in 2012. A transfer from Devon, England, Harvey finished third overall at the World Junior Cross Country Championships in 2010 and was fourth at the British Universities Cross Country meet in 2010 as well. If she can jump right into the mix and perform like she did during the her 2010 xc season, she will make a huge contribution up front. 

With this team looking as good as they do, it is actually hard to see them finishing this far behind, but the key to this group is consistency. New Mexico must find a solid 1-5 that can be counted on to perform at a high level in all the big races. If that does happen, these Lobos could better their 2012 national finish of 10th place and blow this #27 ranking out of the water. 

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