PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph’s women’s cross country squad is set to race the 2017 Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championship this Saturday, October 28. Hosted by George Mason University at the Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Va., the 5k race is scheduled to begin at 10:50 a.m. The Hawks, who finished seventh a year ago, were predicted to place seventh this fall according to the A-10’s preseason poll, with voting conducted by the league’s 14 head coaches back in late August.
The race will be streamed live and free of charge on the Atlantic 10 Network, weather permitting.
"We have been flying under the radar," said third-year head coach Melody O'Reilly. "We haven’t been full strength, but as we go to A-10s, we are finally full strength. We have three races left and two opportunities to show what we’re really made of and who we really are."
The Hawks turned in their last top-five finish in 2011 (5th), while SJU’s last A-10 title came in 2000.
The 10 Hawks to represent SJU at the 2017 A-10 Cross Country Championship are graduate student co-captain Sydney Coughlin, senior co-captain Cassidy Weimer, juniors Elaine Estes, Britton Gagliardi, Lucy Harmon, Lindsey Oremus, and Sara Rankin, sophomores Emily Bracken and Meridith Twomey, and freshman Abigail Silva.
Saint Joseph’s returns its two All-Conference finishers from a year ago in Oremus (11th) and Weimer (12th).
Since her rookie season in 2015, Oremus has led the Hawks in 16 of 19 races. She has been on the A-10 roster twice, leading the Hawks in 2016 and finishing as SJU’s #2 runner in 2015, and ran a 5k time of 18:10.1 to open this season at Rosedale Park back on September 2.
Weimer has also been on the A-10 roster twice from 2015-16, only missing the 2014 season due to injury. Weimer finished as SJU’s top runner last time out at the Princeton Invitational and ran a 5k time of 18:32.0 at Rosedale Park to open the season.
The Hawks also return an additional scorer in sophomore Twomey (66th) as well as both Gagliardi and Bracken, SJU’s #6 and #7 finishers. SJU will look to fill the vacancy of graduate Sarah Regnault (20th), who finished as SJU’s #3 runner last fall.
The All-Conference team consists of the top 15 finishers, while the Most Outstanding Rookie Performer award is given to the highest-placing freshman in each race; Oremus and Weimer became the first Hawk duo to earn All-Conference honors in the same cross country meet since 2000 (Chistine Kane, Gabby Quezada), and each became the first Hawk to earn All-Conference honors since 2013 (Lizzy Barrett).
The Hawks raced the Oatlands Plantation course as part of the George Mason Invitatational back on September 30; SJU won the 6k race in a field of eight teams, which included conference foes Duquesne, George Mason, and George Washington.