Lady Vikings: New Faces, New Cross Country Season

By: Nicole Fredette

Each year, the Berry Cross Country team changes with the addition of new runners as well as the loss of some cherished teammates. The whole team atmosphere changes, but this new group of runners looks strong and competitive. They have practiced together for the past week and are ready to put all of that training to use. The Berry College women's cross country team opened their season by racing the Sewanee-Berry Invitational. They competed against 13 other competitive teams from the South and placed 10th overall in the meet.

Berry had 12 Lady Vikings running today. Leading the pack of Berry runners was freshman Rachel Dorris. Dorris graduated from Creekview High School in Canton, GA with a 5K personal record of 20:27. This was Dorris's first collegiate race and first 6K, and she had an impressive finish of 26:11.59. Dorris's season is off to a great start.

Senior Lauren Nation followed right behind Dorris running a time of 27:08.49. Nation is the Lady Vikings' team captain this year and only senior on the team. Following Nation, Junior Charlotte Collins ran a time of 27:45.77. Collins has been dealing with some feet issues this season but was really able to pull it together today and race strong.

Junior Katy Jordan came in fourth for the team. And despite the heat of a midday race, Jordan managed to run a personal record of 28:37.82. Jordan really started her season off with a bang and is excited for more improvement throughout the season. Junior Allison Preg came in right behind Jordan with a time of 28:46.97. Last track and cross country season, Preg dealt with many health issues, but she trained hard this summer and her summer mileage and hard work effort seems to be paying off.

Sixth and seventh for the Lady Vikings were sophomores Hibah Abuhamdieh and Nicole Fredette. Abuhamdieh raced smart and finished strong with a time of 29:50.94. Fredette finished with a time of 30:28.47.

Freshman Stephanie Mimbs finished next with a time of 31:40.20. Mimbs graduated from Central Gwinnet High School in Lawrenceville, GA. Her senior year, she ran a 5K personal record of 22:13; however, she struggled with knee issues her senior year as well.  Today, she ran a strong and healthy race and a personal 6K record. Following Mimbs was sophomore Leslie Stewart. Stewart ran a time of 32:06.23.

Next, sophomore Kayla Heflin finished with a time of 34:02.00 and then freshman Claire Park with a time of 34:19.35. Park graduated from Providence Christian Academy in Lilburn, GA and had a 5K personal record of 22:35. This was also Park's first ever 6K race. Closing up the pack of Berry runners was sophomore Annika Stryker with a time of 35:46.14.

The Sewanee-Berry Invitational gave the Lady Vikings a place to start for their 2012 cross country season. With concrete times and the first race of the season under their belts, they now know where they are as a team and as individuals and have better knowledge as to what they need to improve this season to race strong. Their next race will be the Mercer Invitational in Macon, GA on September 15th.