HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College women's cross country team has been picked to finish fifth overall this weekend at the HCAC championships hosted by Mount St. Joseph University.
The poll, released earlier today, ranks the Red and Blue behind four other conference schools including Manchester University (92 points), Bluffton University (87 points), Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (83 points), and Earlham College (70 points) heading into Saturday's championship race.
If the Panthers are to improve on this ranking, a lot will come down to the proven talents of freshman Arig Tong (Columbus, Ind.). Tong, who was named the most recent HCAC runner of the week and has already etched her name onto two different Hanover all-time lists this season. Her personal-best of 18:28.4 from the Wilmington (Ohio) Jenna Strong Fall Classic two weeks ago ranks her third all-time for the five-kilometer race in Hanover history and was the fastest of any HCAC competitor that weekend.
Joining Tong with big season and personal bests at Wilmington were junior Ariel Barlow (Francesville, Ind.) and senior Amanda Stump (Garrett, Ind.). Barlow and Stump raced to the tune of 20:08.5 and 20:18.1 respectively and will be key contributors to a team who will be looking to surprise some rivals this weekend.
A tight pack of four other women will be in contention to round out the scoring for the Red and Blue. Junior Caitlyn Naghdi (Carmel, Ind.), senior Morgan Hamilton (Connersville, Ind.), and freshman teammates Brianna Medcalf (Central, Ind.) and Zoe Adams (Louisville, Ind.) all finished within 40-seconds of each other two weeks ago.
In a pre-season edition of the coaches' poll, the Panthers were slated in a tie for fifth with only 55 points to their name as compared to 64 in the newest version. In both cases, Manchester was picked as the favorite.
The women's championship race will be held at Blue River State Park in Shelbyville, Ind. and is slated to begin at noon.
Contact: Logan Wells