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Cross Country Teams Looking to Build on Last Year's Success

FROSTBURG, MD — Last year, the Frostburg State University cross country teams were in a state of flux. Of the 15 members that comprised the squads, nine were donning the FSU singlet for the first time. Even the head coach was new.

Still, both teams were looking to continue their domination of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. The women were seeking their fourth conference championship in the league’s five-year history, while the men were chasing their fourth title in the last five seasons (FSU did not place in the 2000 championships due to injury).

The Bobcats nearly pulled off a clean sweep as the men regained the championship and the women finished second.

This year, both the women and men are setting their sights on even higher goals. Second-year head coach Randy Lowe says, having tasted success, he and his teams are hungry for more.

"Our goals are always the same," said Lowe. "We want to win the conference, perform well in regional championships and make some noise at nationals. We’re aiming to continue having success at the conference level and to have both the men and women move up seven to eight spots at the NCAA Division III Regional Championships."

The return of several veteran runners fuel Lowe’s optimism.

Junior Mike Replogle (Union Bridge, Md./Francis Scott Key), who earned a pair of AMCC Runner of the Week awards a year ago, finished sixth at last season’s league championship meet to earn All-AMCC honors. Replogle also had a strong track and field season, recording personal bests at both the 5000- and the 10,000-meter distances.

Sophomore Kevin Ripple (Mechanicsville, Md./Leonardtown) will battle Replogle for the top spot on the team. Ripple posted a fourth-place finish at the AMCC Championships to join Replogle on the all-conference last year, and both runners are looking to break into the All-Region squad.

Sophomore Ron Lipscomb (Avilton, Md./Southern Garrett) will also contend for one of the top varsity slots.

The top newcomer on the men’s team is local freshman Sid Bittinger (Midland, Md./Westmar). Lowe expects Bittinger to push the top men while consistently scoring in meets.

Big contributions are also expected from junior All-AMCC selection Brian Gallagher (Burke, Va./East Lake Hall (Fla.), sophomore All-AMCC honoree John Densmore (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) and freshman Ed May (Bryantown, Md./La Plata). A breakout season by any of the three could mean another banner year for the men’s squad.

The Bobcats, whose second-place finish a year ago snapped their streak of four straight AMCC titles, look to recapture the crown behind a corps of experienced harriers.

With senior Inga Olsen (Thurmont, Md./Catoctin), a three-time All-AMCC honoree, leading the way, Lowe hopes that this team will not settle for anything less than a championship.

Olsen has rededicated herself to the sport in her final season and hopes to make good on her All-Region ability to help the Bobcats reclaim the AMCC title and reach the national championships.

Juniors Katy Eads (West Point, Iowa/Central Lee) and Beth Sauder (Oakland, Md./Southern Garrett), who both earned All-AMCC honors last season, will provide a solid core for the upcoming year.

Eads competed primarily as FSU’s third runner last year and showed great promise at last year’s Dickinson College Long-Short Course Invitational, finishing as the FSU’s number two runner at the 6000m distance that has recently been adopted by NCAA Division III as the official distance for women’s cross country.

Sauder, a two-time All-AMCC performer, is also hitting her stride as a runner. She is coming off a season in which she was named to the Mason-Dixon All-Conference team and was also FSU’s top finisher at the Maryland Collegiate Championships.

Sophomore Julie Hoffman (Parkton, Md./Hereford) and freshmen Carolyn Kilkus (Rockville, Md./ Richard Montgomery) and Sarah Valenta (Frostburg, Md./Homeschool) are expected to boost FSU’s efforts to get back to the top of the AMCC.

Another newcomer to the program who may be as important as any is assistant coach Cara Devlin.

Devlin was an All-American at Ithaca College and also received Academic All-America honors during both her junior and senior seasons.

"We are very fortunate to have Cara join our coaching staff," said Lowe. "She was and still is a tremendous athlete who brings the type of winning experience and work ethic that every successful program needs. Cara can only help make us better."

With more experience and depth, Lowe is very optimistic about this year’s group of runners.

"Last year there were so many questions that had to be answered. Nearly everyone, including myself, was trying to adjust to a new role. I think we handled that adversity well. This year, we just have a few ‘ifs’ that need to be addressed. If we can figure them out, it’s going to be a great season."

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780