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#16 W&M Women's Cross Country Races at Richmond Friday
Updated: Saturday 09/05/2013 (ET)
by Jacob Skipper
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The 16th-ranked William and Mary women's cross country team begins the 2013 campaign on Friday evening at the Spider Alumni Open, taking on Richmond and a number of other Atlantic 10 programs at 5:30 p.m.  The race, which will be held over a shorter two-mile distance, is being held at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville and will feature free live video.

Live Video

Scouting the Tribe
W&M brings back six of its seven runners from the team that took 21st at the NCAA Championships a year ago, led by All-Americans Elaina Balouris (Allison Park, Pa.) and Emily Stites (Wyoming, Ohio).  Balouris, a senior, was 13th at the national championships last fall, while Stites was 26th as a freshman in 2012 and went on to win the USAT&F Junior national title and place 23rd at the World Cross Country Championships.  Also back is senior Michelle Britto (Woodbridge, Va.), who along with Balouris is the only team member to earn All-CAA honors each of the past two years.  Senior Clarissa Schick (Richmond, Va.) was the fifth runner at the conference meet a year ago for the Tribe, but improved to run third on the team in both the regional and national meets.  Junior Dylan Hassett (Alpharetta, Ga.) and sophomore Meghan McGovern (North Wales, Pa.) both also ran at the NCAA meet, and followed up in the spring by qualifying for the NCAA semifinals on the track.

In pre-season predictions and polls, the Tirbe was ranked No. 16 in the country by the USTFCCCA, and predicted to finish seventh at the NCAA Championships in November by Track and Field News.

Scouting the Field
Also in the meet tomorrow are teams from Richmond, George Mason, VCU, Duquesne, and Hampton.  The Spiders were third in the Atlantic 10 a year ago, and bring back 2011 champion Jill Prentice.  Duquesne was seventh in meet and VCU 16th.  George Mason switched leagues this season after taking fourth in the CAA last fall, and Hampton was a narrow second in the MEAC in 2012, finishing just two points behind Florida A&M.

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