Tuesday, July 23, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Women's #31- Toledo

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: Linh Nguyen (1st Season)
2012 National Finish: 28th

Key Returners from 2012
  • Priscilla Timmons (Jr., 4:36, 17:16)
  • Liz Weiler (Jr., 17:05, 10:21 3k Steeple)
  • Devyn Ramsay (Sr., 16:59, 36:04)
  • Mackenzie Chojnacky (Jr., 9:32 open 3k, 16:25)

Season Preview

The Rockets are coming off of an interesting year full of a lot of unwanted press and a par for the course showing at nationals. In January 2013, Coach Kevin Hadsell resigned on the heels of an investigation concerning his inappropriate interactions with athletes. Toledo put together an OK national championship race and closed out the season in 28th.

Many things have changed and yet many things are the same for Toledo in 2013. With Hadsell done at Toledo, in comes an up-and-coming young coach from UNC-Greensboro named Linh Nguyen. Coach Nguyen is most known for coaching Paul Chelimo and Paul Katam to individual podium finishes in XC and in the 5000m and 10000m outdoors.

With little help on the recruiting side this season, the Rockets do welcome back their 2-7 from Louisville last November and also add one more athlete that competed for them at the regional, but not at nationals, Stephanie Ingraham. What Toledo is missing this season is a front-runner, low-stick option to turn to for leadership and smaller points at bigger meets.

Some of the options for this job are Liz Weiler and Priscilla Timmons who tended to switch off as the no. 2-3 runners all season. If these two are able to step up they can provide a solid 1-2 punch heading into the 2013. Mackenzie Chojnacky has the best PRs of the group and should also be considered as a possible no. 1 runner. 

There are some other talented middle distance-type women that if they are able to make the leap to 6k, will also be a factor in the top seven. These may include redshirt freshman Therese Warsecke (4:28.43) and senior Megan Wright (4:34.52), who has some XC experience. 

A projected 31st finish is definitely the worst possible scenario for Toledo. Getting out of the Great Lakes region will be difficult, just as a 5th place finish in 2012 proved to be as well, but if the seven girls that return from a good, but troubled 2012 season, can progress and improve steadily, Coach Nguyen could have a surprisingly good young team. 

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