Sept. 10, 2002
The Georgia Tech women’s cross country team appears to have all the pieces in place to enjoy yet another record-setting season, as the Jackets enter 2002 with a tremendous trio of front runners, a solid group of veterans and a talented crop of newcomers.
However, head coach Alan Drosky needs to replace three key members of last year’s team, which recorded the most successful season in program history. Tech won it’s first NCAA South Region title and placed 26th at nationals. The Jackets have reached NCAAs in each of the last two seasons.
The team will shoot for a third-straight trip to nationals this season. “We did lose some significant people off last year’s team, so we enter this season needing some people to step up and fill in some gaps, but I don’t want to lower our expectations,” said Drosky. According to him, the team will shoot to finish in the top three in the ultra-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference, earn a return trip to NCAAs with a top-two finish at regionals and place in the top 20 nationally.
“Despite losing three of our top five, I know we have the talent to meet all these expectations,” said Drosky.
Leading the way for the women will be junior Renee Metivier, who enjoyed “a magical season” in 2001. She placed second at the NCAA Championships, earning All-America honors and also captured the NCAA South Region title. Metivier became Tech’s first All-ACC harrier since 1996 with a second-place finish at the conference meet.
“Renee is such a great competitor and such a hard worker,” said Drosky. “I have every expectation that she’ll be where she was last year and hopefully better.”
Seniors Amy Dock and Katie Griffin will team with Metivier to form a formidable trio at the top of Tech’s lineup. Dock returns to action after missing last cross country season due to illness. An all-region performer in 2000, Dock had a strong indoor track season last year, placing fourth in the ACC in the 5000 meters. Griffin, who garnered all-region honors last season, also had a strong track season, setting the school record and qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 meters.
“If those three can be healthy and training well, it’s a heck of a group,” Drosky said. “That’s almost as good a three as you are going to find anywhere in the country.”
Junior Neta Ezer follows this group in Drosky’s lineup. She posted a solid cross country campaign in 2001 and a great track season, clocking a 17:23 5K on the track.
“If Neta is your fourth girl at 17:23, then you’ve got a really good team,” said Drosky.
Senior Eboni Crosby can also be a big piece of the puzzle if she remains healthy.
A Tech veteran that is new to the cross country program is Jenny Lentz, who is expected to make in immediate impact after competing as a member of the Jackets’ swimming and track programs her first two years. After enjoying success in the 800 meters last spring, Lentz is now running full time and has reached new training levels over the summer, according to Drosky.
Returnees Amanda Gilley and Laura Ginn should add key depth, and Drosky is hoping each will have a breakout season in 2002.
Drosky also has a talented group of newcomers in the fold for this season, headlined by Carly Matthews (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Carla Uribe (Norcross, Ga.). Matthews finished second at the 2001 Foot Locker Southeast meet in a time of 17:35 and advanced to nationals. Uribe ran in the mid 18-minute range in high school, and Drosky expects her to blossom in the longer college races.
“I’m anxious for them to get here and train with the team,” said Drosky. “I fully expect them to compete for the fifth through seventh spots.”
Marietta’s Catherine Spoth figures to be right behind this pair of freshmen, and other newcomers expected to contribute include Barbie Daymude (Suwanee, Ga.) and Misty Dirksen (Hampton, Iowa).
“The common thread on this women’s team is the level of work ethic,” Drosky said. “It truely is awesome, and as a coach, I’ve never witnessed anything like it. I am literally in awe at how hard they train.”
If this dedication is any indication, the 2002 season should be one to remember.