Women's Cross Country Season Preview

Morgan Hamilton



HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's cross country team is just over one week away from starting its 2018 season at home, and with that, we delve deeper on this fall's roster.

With no seniors on the roster in 2017, the Panthers used head coach Brady Wells' first season at the helm to gain valuable experience, leaving the 2018 edition of the program with seven returning runners, along with a septet of first year athletes. Hanover placed sixth at the conference meet last fall, marking its first finish outside the top three since 2009. During the stretch of successful campaigns, HC recorded a pair of championships in 2013 and 2014.

Hoping to lead the squad again this fall will be senior Morgan Hamilton (Connersville, Ind.) and junior Ariel Barlow (Francesville, Ind.). The duo combined to pace the Panthers in all six races last year, leading the group of harriers three times each.

Hamilton's 2017 campaign saw her post personal bests in both the five- and six-kilometer races, 20:45.8 and 25:18.8 respectively. Highlighting her junior season, which saw Hamilton compete five times, was a fifth-place finish at the Hanover Invitational and a top 25 placement at the conference championship.

Barlow appeared in all six events for Hanover last fall as she placed 23rd at the HCAC Championships with a personal-best 6K time of 24:55.2. The now junior has also run a sub-21-minute 5K twice in her career, both at the Wilmington (Ohio) Jenna Strong Fall Classic. Barlow is coming off a strong track & field season as well, one that saw her earn all-conference recognition in the outdoor 3000m steeplechase.

Senior Amanda Stump (Garrett, Ind.) will look to give Hanover three top contenders this fall. Stump was among HC's top three runners in each race last fall and posted a career-best 6K time of 25:24.3 at the 2017 HCAC Championships.

Returners looking to add depth to the squad this fall will be juniors Caitlyn Naghdi (Carmel, Ind.) and Madison VanWinkle (Moores Hill, Ind.), as well as sophomore Danielle Shaw (Indianapolis, Ind.). Naghdi led the group of three in top times last season, posting a PR in the 5K at 22:05.9.

The Panthers will also have seven newcomers on the 2018 roster this season, who will all look to make an immediate impact. To view the complete roster, visit the link above.

The Blue and Red will open the season for the second consecutive year with their own Hanover Invitational. Competition is slated to start at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 1.

Contact: Tyler Jester