2010 Cross Country
Bluffton harriers looking forward to 2010 campaign
August 18, 2010
By: Erin Oberly, sports information assistant
The Bluffton University cross country team will look to pursue improvement in personal times as well as team success this fall when they delve into the 2010 schedule. On the men's side, returners Jeremy Kidder (New Carlisle/Tecumseh), Kevin Hickman (Centerburg), and Robert Hooley (Bluffton) will strive to improve their personal bests while setting down an anchor for team improvement. On the women's team, junior Heather Smith (Elkhart, IN/Concord) and sophomores Alison Janzen (Whitewater, KS/Remington) and Katy Heffner (Troy) lead a solid core of returners from 2009. Head Coach Gary Labonte commented that he is "looking forward to the women competing" and has hopes that his women harriers will move to the middle of the pack in HCAC competition.
Labonte noted that his men's team is more experienced from last year, but it still needs to make daily improvements to continue to build as a unit. The women, however, continue to grow in numbers and Labonte accredits their success to the runners "being a close-knit team". While there are no seniors returning for the women, leadership will come from top runners Smith, Janzen and Heffner.
"I expect that the women will improve steadily over the season. I have a great group that is willing to put in the necessary work," Labonte said. "I would also like to see our girls at the front of the pack run more closely - be able to close the gap," he continued.
The women's team will welcome newcomers Lyndsey Darrow (Pioneer/North Central), Ashley Hiller (New Philadelphia/Tuscarawas Valley), and Haleigh White (Grove City), while the men added freshman James Whitt (Berne Union/Lancaster). Coach Labonte is ready "to help the newcomers adjust to college running as the season progresses".
The Beavers open up their season with meets in which they travel to Goshen College on September 4, Defiance College on September 11, and at the Cedarville University Invitational the following weekend. They will then compete on their home course for the Bluffton Invitational on September 24 before heading to the All-Ohio meet at Ohio Wesleyan on October 1. They finish up their regular season at the Wilmington Fall Classic on October 15.