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Wednesday, Sept. 3

Preview of Lincoln College cross country    Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 3, 2003]  The second season of cross country at Lincoln College should be exciting, according to coach Erin Verbeck. "We have a runner who finished ninth in the nation returning from last season, and we have several outstanding prospects to fill out the team," said Verbeck.

Heading the list of returnees on the women's team is Chris Tien Taitt, who qualified for nationals and placed ninth. Taitt, from Crete, heads a group of eight girls on the squad.

Joining the sophomore is Mary Daum of Mason City, Jeanine Mills of Meukes and Betsy Scarpci of Lockport, all returning from last season. Two other sophomores, Mollie Donahue of Aledo and Toni Ortega of Pekin, join the squad this season. Freshmen Tara Bodnar and Angeliae Pass round out the team.

"Chris obviously will be our leader; however, Mary and Jeanine give us a lot to build around on the women's side this season," said Verbeck. "We are allowed to have seven compete in each match, with the top five runners accounting for the team score. These three girls have done a lot of training during the summer, and they are excited about the upcoming season.

"At the present time, Mollie and Toni look to be our other top runners, but they are being pushed by the other three team members."

Ten members make up the men's squad this season, including four sophomores. "Our leader at the present time is Mario Willbourn (East St. Louis), who ran well in some meets last season," said Verbeck. "He missed several meets last season due to injury. Jordan Gerard (Pittsfield) has been running well and looks to be our No. 2 participant. Another who has shown well early is Mark Shannahan (Mount Zion), who is a transfer from Parkland.


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Verbeck continued, "Our freshman class has been phenomenal in practice. Clint Wombles (Pleasant Hill) has been the early leader among the freshmen, and with this class, I feel we will have plenty of depth to compete at the team level."

Others on the squad include sophomores Russ Holstine of Rock Island and Mike Lister of Pittsfield. Freshman members are Ryan Maisenbacher of Williamsville, Curtis Hughes of East St. Louis, Rob Dudgeon of Olympia and Travis Starr of Rock Island.

Illinois Central and Danville are the only other teams in the Lincoln College region competing in cross country. "Most of the junior college teams are in the Chicago area," said Verbeck. "We compete against several four-year schools, and I feel we have the quality of runners who can compete. With the type of runners we have, I think we will surprise some people this season."

Lincoln College is slated to open the cross country season Sept. 6 at Sugar Grove in the Waubonsee Chiefs Invitational. All of the LC meets will be on the road this season. The men run a total of five miles at their meets, while the women will be running 3.1 miles.

[Bill Martinie, Lincoln College
sports information director]


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