YORK, Pa. – In what can be described as a banner year for the York College women's cross country squad, the 2010 campaign proved one of unprecedented success. The Spartans had their first Capital Athletic Conference individual champion while a three other runners finished just outside the All-CAC squad. And here's the best part, that 2010 season could pale in comparison to the Green and White's 2011 campaign.
"We have a ton of talent heading into this season," Spartan head coach Erick Camodeca said prior to his second year leading the women's cross country program. "But not only do we have talent, but we have tremendous collegiate experience that will only help to bolster that talent. This could be a very exciting year for us."
Highlighting York's optimism is the return of reigning CAC Champion Mandy Parshall. The exceptional runner captured the league title in just her first collegiate cross country season and is back for her final year of eligibility. Parshall will look for an even better 2011 and, with the tremendous experience she gained last season, is primed for another fantastic year.
"She is truly a gifted athlete," Camodeca said of Parshall. "Along with that, she puts in the work and has a competitor's fire that is remarkable. We are really looking forward to seeing her lead our squad this season."
Joining Parshall at the front of the Spartan pack are returners Corie Thompson and Tuesday Wilson. Thompson, a senior this year, was the 2008 CAC Rookie of the Year and has been a two-time All-CAC performer. As she closes out her career, Thompson will look to post quality times and finishes for the Green and White. Wilson, who enters her junior season, has finished just outside of the All-CAC squad in each of her first two seasons and has the potential to break into that list this year.
"Both Corie and Tuesday have been great for us," Camodeca said. "They are strong runners who are consistently at the front of our pack. They will be key components to our success this season."
Nicole Danielewicz is another quality runner who gained experience in her first season with the Spartans in 2010. Possessing excellent potential, Danielewicz looks to return strong from an offseason injury that kept her out of track season. However, a fully healthy Danielewicz could find herself in the lead Spartan pack throughout the season.
Chelsea McCracken and Abby Peller each return to the lineup for the Green and White for their junior and sophomore campaigns, respectively. McCracken is a steady performer who will strive for a breakout 2011 while Peller is another young Spartan with solid potential.
"Overall, we have a strong group of returners," Camodeca said. "They give us both talent and depth – two key areas in the cross country realm. With their experience from a season ago, there is no reason why each one should not post improved times in 2011."
Aside from those solid returners, York also brings in a number of new faces for the 2011 season.
"We are definitely excited about our new runners," Camodeca said. "The potential there is amazing and it will be great to see them grow as college student-athletes throughout the season."
Rachel Berninger and Katie Meehan join the cross country squad for the 2011 season. Berninger enters her sophomore year after competing with York's women's track & field team during the spring. Coming in with the right mindset this season, Berninger understands the importance of cross country to her track performance – and hopefully vice versa. Meehan embarks on her cross country career after spending her first two college seasons as a goalkeeper with the Spartans' women's soccer team. Possessing a love for running, Meehan's dedication and competitiveness could allow her to be an immediate contributor.
The coaching staff's work on the recruiting trail could prove to pay early dividends as the Green and White sport six freshmen on their 2011 roster. Misty Parshall, Emily Abell, Nikki Fox, Jess Miller, Caroline DeLany, and Victoria Hall will look to not only improve and gain experience but also put up strong results in just their first seasons.
Misty Parshall (Mandy's sister) enters her first college season in great shape and should be with the top Spartans from the outset. Possessing outstanding talent, she has the potential to become one of the CAC's top runners. Abell is an extremely smart runner whose attention to detail will help her improve as a rookie while Fox could begin training with York's top group as the season progresses. Miller and DeLany both experienced quality success on the high school level and will now strive to translate that into a quick and smooth adjustment to college-level running. Hall adds quality depth in her rookie campaign and has the potential to become a top-pack runner in the future.
"As I said, we are extremely encouraged by our newcomers," Camodeca beamed. "This could become a very special group of student-athletes. I am confident that they will put the work in and if they can be patient, improve in incremental steps, we could see outstanding results."
Sporting such talent, experience, and youthful exuberance, the 2011 Spartan women's cross country team is primed to venture into areas not before seen by previous York squads. During their time in the CAC, the Green and White has never finished above third place at the annual conference championships – a trend the 2011 team hopes to change.
"It is a long, tough season," Camodeca said of the cross country slate. "It is going to take hard work from everyone involved. But with our roster this year, I am very excited to see what we are capable of and what can be accomplished."
The Spartans officially open their 2011 campaign at Shippensburg University on Saturday, September 3. York is set to compete in the Galen E. Piper Cross Country Challenge beginning at 10:30 am.