HIRAM, OHIO — The Hiram College men’s and women’s cross country teams will begin the 2011 season later this week as the Terriers look to begin a solid season of improvement.
Last year, the Terrier men placed ninth overall at the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships and the women competed as individuals.
This fall, the men will be led by senior Joe Hengoed (Seven Hills/Normandy). A year ago, Hengoed posted the team’s fastest time in nine of ten events and finished in the top-ten in four races. He recorded a season-best time of 26:36 at the Walsh University Invitational on Oct. 23 in which he placed ninth overall. Hengoed placed a season-high second at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg Invitational on Oct. 2 in which he ran a time of 27.50.
Joining Hengoed will be fellow senior Don Daley (Chagrin Falls/University School) and juniors Brendan Curtin (Burton/Berkshire), Bryan Nemire (Berlin Heights/Edison) and Chris Pratt (North Canton/Hoover). Pratt was the team’s consistent number two runner last season with a season-best time of 27:47 at the Walsh Invitational. Curtin and Nemire will also provide leadership and experience for the men’s team following a strong season in 2010 that saw them finish in the top-five on the team consistently throughout the season. Daley competed in all but one race last year and will again provide depth and look to post some competitive times as a senior.
In addition, expect to see returning letterman Forrest Reed (Seven Hills/Normandy to compete for the Terriers in 2011 following a successful “rookie” campaign.
“Barring injuries, this year’s team experience and talent will ensure the continued program improvement we have witnessed over the past few years,” said seventh-year Head Coach Earl Kissell. “The men trained very hard over the off-season and were highly successful at various road races this summer. This success has generated considerable excitement about our upcoming season.”
The women will also have an experienced team in 2011 and will be led by sophomore Laila Almassri (Parma/ Normandy) who recorded the team’s top time in all nine events last season. She recorded a season-best mark of 21:22 at teh Walsh Invitational on Oct. 23. Her best overall individual finish was a 12th-place effort at the Pitt-Greensburg Invite on Oct. 2 in which she ran a time of 27:07.
Also looking to make an impact this season will be the junior trio of Megan Orosz (Mentor/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) Natalie Richardson (McConnelsville/Morgan) and Elizabeth Haase (Akron/Firestone). Orosz finished amongst the top-three on the team in several events and had a top-time of 23:18 at the Walsh Invite. In addition, look for sophomores Clarissa Claffin (Mayfield/ Mayfield Heights) and Carly Kidner (Ashtabula/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) to compete this season. Claffin had a standout first season with the Terriers as one of the team’s top runners posting the second-best time on the team in five events. Her best overall mark of 23:09 also came at the Walsh Invitational and she recorded a season-best finish of 24th overall at the Pitt-Greensburg Invite.
“A strong contingent of exsperienced runners combined with our newcomers, ensures continued program improvement,” said Kissell. At the regionals last year, each woman runner recorded a personal best. The confidence associated with that accomplishment brightens the oulook for the 2011 season.”
Hiram will begin the 2011 season on Thursday, Sept. 1 at the first of two College of Wooster Invitationals. The event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. The Terriers will then compete at the annual Westminster College Fisher Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 3) in New Wilmington, Pa.