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UMBC CROSS COUNTRY OUTLOOK
Baltimore, Md. – After opening their season the past two years with men’s and women’s team titles at the Baltimore Metro Invitational, the UMBC Retrievers men’s and women’s cross country squads led by Head Coach Murray Davis will look for a third-straight sweep to open the season, this year at the Mount St. Mary’s Invitational. Taking the competition level up a notch, the Retrievers will head to the campus of their former Northeast Conference foe on Sept. 4 to compete with some of the top programs in the area, taking on the likes of
“Our schedule is extremely important to us,” said
The Retrievers schedule, like every year, is carefully planned out by
The Retrievers, entering their second season in the America East Conference, return a number of top runners from last season in which the men’s squad placed fourth at the conference championships and the women seventh.
Leading the way on the men’s side will be two juniors in Izudin (Izzy) Mehmedovic (
Cartwright will be expected to score for the Retrievers as well having continually improved over his past two seasons. Shockry, who placed 25th at the conference meet last season and was the Retrievers’ third-best runner at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional meet, according to Davis is, “one of the most consistent runners across all three (cross country, indoor track, outdoor track) seasons last year.”
With Davis depending on Mehmedovic, Cartwright and Shokry to grab three of the five scoring spots, a cast of other familiar athletes will be depended on to allow the Retrievers a top team finish. The list includes Chris Baumler (
“Chris Baumler is a mystery man because he is coming back from injury while J.J. Wetzel is improved a lot,” said
Baumler missed the entire cross country season last year but is expected to be a leader in 2004. Commins recorded a strong year that started off with a first place finish at the Baltimore Metro Invitational and fourth place finish at the Mid-Atlantic Classic. Teammate and fellow returnee J.J. Wetzel placed fourth at the Baltimore Metro Invitational and third as the top runner for the Retrievers in the Mid-Atlantic Classic as UMBC captured the team trophy in both those meets.
In addition to their 11 returnees, the Retrievers welcome transfer’s Alex Driscoll (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) and Blake Davis (
“Heading into this season we are as deep as we were last year,” said
On the women’s side the Retrievers return two standout athletes that have paced the program the past two seasons. Since her first appearance on the course in the fall of 2002, junior Stefanie Thomas (
Senior Cara Wettlaufer (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) returns for her final year of eligibility and much like Thomas is expected to be one of the top Retriever finishers again in 2004. Last season Wettlaufer competed in all seven events and finished six of those events as the Retrievers’ runner-up to Thomas.
“Cara and Stefanie are our captains and we have a lot of confidence in their ability to lead and produce,” said
The Retrievers, who essentially return everyone from last year, will rely on Morgan Little (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright), Jazzmon Morgan (Toms River, N.J./Toms River) and U’Tonna Sherrod (Millersville, Md./Archbishop Spalding) to fill out their remaining scoring spots.
Little last year placed ninth at the Baltimore Metro Invitational and was the Retrievers’ fourth best finisher at the NCAA Regional meet. Morgan hit her stride at the Navy Invitational with a 22nd place finish for one of her best times of year while Sherrod took 33rd at Navy with a strong finish.
With five solid competitors, sophomore Kathleen Galan (Sicklerville, N.J./Highland Regional) and junior Jennifer Hickey (
“Our women’s team is probably at the same place if not a little bit better than last year’s team heading into the season,” said