Thursday, July 25, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Women's #29- Harvard

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.

Head Coach: Jason Saretsky (8th Season)
2012 National Finish: 31st

Key Returners from 2012
  • Viviana Hanley (Jr., 16:54, 35:46)
  • Morgan Kelly (Sr., 16:27)
  • Sammy Silva (Sr., 16:34)
  • Emily Reese (Sr., Top returner from Regional, no. 3 at Nats,  9:56 3k, hurt most of outdoor)

Season Preview

After finishing a race in last place as a team, there is only one thing on your mind going into the next season--to never let that happen again. This now veteran-laden Harvard team is looking like they are going to be able to do just that in 2013. Jason Saretsky comes into his 8th season as the Head Coach and has been a good developer of his athletes and has molded his girls into the dark horse of the upcoming season. 

Here is why they are a dark horse (notice I said a, not the, this word will be mentioned many times throughout these previews). Although as a team Harvard finished 31st overall, they bring back every single one of their top seven from 2012. This means they have seven girls that have run at the NCAA meet, and once you taste what that is like, you never go back. 

Viviana Hanley returns as the the Crimson's number one runner and a good track season where she made good improvements on all of her track PRs. She needs to step up and be the leader of this group along with a few others. Morgan Kelly was not nearly as good in cross as she was on the track, but her 16:27 PR is the best of the bunch and she should find herself at the front of the Crimson pack. 

Emily Reese is a wildcard on this team because of how well she did in xc in the fall, but being hurt for outdoor hindered her ability to improve her track PRs and makes it difficult to tell where her progression lies. When she is able to step up and roll with Hanley et al she will play an important role in getting this team back to Terre Haute.

With everyone back from 2012, this Harvard women's team could be dangerous come regional time. If they can keep their 1-5 spread to with :30 seconds, with the solid returners in place this team has a shot at improving their regional place from '12 (tied for 4th) and make a splash at the big dance. 

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