Sept. 3, 2003
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s cross country team is anxious for the 2003 season to begin as they prepare to build upon a successful track performance this past spring.
“We had the track season in between last fall and this fall, where we had a lot of great things happen. It’s a new year, though, with some of the same athletes but also some new ones, with new hopes and expectations, and a new plan to be healthy and fit,” said head coach Alan Drosky.
The Jackets were without their top runner, Katie Griffin, during the championship part of last season with an injury and have stressed health and fitness throughout the 2003 season. “She was running great two weeks before the conference meet last year, and then was not in the lineup for ACC’s due to the stress fracture. You add all of that together, and during the championship season when you want to be at your best and running well, we didn’t have everyone.”
Griffin returns this season with fellow senior Amy Dock to lead a young women’s team. “They will be a very solid 1-2 punch. Both are proven competitors at the ACC level, and both have been very successful in the past. And most importantly, both of them are healthy right now,” said Drosky. Griffin was Tech’s top performer in all four races that she competed in last season, including winning the Georgia Intercollegiates and finishing second in the Bulldog Stampede and the Auburn Invitational, where she recorded Tech’s top 5K time for the season in 16:53.56. Dock returns as Tech’s top 6K runner as she recorded a time of 22:34.92 in a 15th-place finish at the NCAA South Regional Championships, earning her all-region honors for the second time in her career.
Following these two girls is Neta Ezer, a senior who was Tech’s fourth finisher last season. “Neta is a pretty solid athlete who is training hard this summer, and we’re looking for her to be one of our top three finishers this season,” said Drosky. “If she ends up being your fourth or fifth girl, however, then we’ve got a very good team,” he added.
The next group consists of senior Jenny Lentz and sophomores Carla Uribe and Catherine Spoth. “Carla was struggling with injury problems last year, but is a talented athlete and someone who could really be a solid person for us. She took the track season off to get healthy, but now she’s back and has been running very well this summer,” reported Drosky. Lentz, a former swimmer for Tech, began running the 400 meters for the Jackets and has steadily moved up to the cross country distance. “She’s a half-mile type of kid, but has been training very well for us this summer and we’re looking for some good things from her.” Spoth recorded her top 5K time, 18:59, at the Auburn Invitational towards the end of the season and looks to improve upon those numbers this fall.
Drosky is also looking for newcomers Jenny Sims and Kirby Cross to contribute immediately to the team. “We’ve got these two freshmen that are going to be pretty significant for us this fall, and they are going to have to be.” Sims (Woodstock, Ga.) was the state champion in the half-mile and finished third in the state in cross country while Cross (Rome, Ga.) is the AA state record holder in the 3200 meters. “Jenny is a talented athlete, a tough competitor, and I think she will do very well. Kirby ran well in cross country and then made big improvements during her track season, so she is pretty good. They are both going to help us tremendously this season, ” Drosky said.
Rounding out the freshman class are Ann Armsby (Dacula, Ga.), Mary Chind (Cartersville, Ga.), and Alice Koerner (Lawrenceville, Ga.). This trio adds depth to the women’s cross country team and is expected to mesh well with a solid group of veterans for the upcoming season.
If the freshmen have an immediate impact, then the women’s team has a good chance to advance to the NCAA Championships. “All we have to do is be in the top two at the NCAA Southern Regionals to go to nationals. For both sides, I believe that we have the personnel and the people in place that can accomplish that. If we are successful in our plan to be fit and healthy when it counts, I believe we can be one of those top two,” says Drosky.