Aug. 22, 2005

Cass and Poling Provide Senior Leadership for Women
Sarah Cass and Chelsea Poling are the veterans of the women’s team in 2005. Each has experienced marked improvements in each of their three previous seasons with the Buckeyes. Last year, Poling posted her top 5K time at the All-Ohio meet, crossing the finish line in 18:59.4 to take 17th place. She also had a Top 20 showing at the season-opening Onesty Invite.

“Chelsea is a tough competitor who loves cross country,” Assistant coach Chad Myers said. “She is coming off an injury, so I’m looking for her to step up again and compete hard and lead this team.”

Cass has competed in all 10 events the last two seasons for the Buckeyes. She posted her best 5K time at the All-Ohio in 19:33.1.

“Sarah is a hard worker who wants to excel in everything she does,” Myers said. “I’m looking for her to step it up in her last year and compete well.”

Juniors, Sophomores Expected to Fuel Team
Based on her performance last season, Melanie Price also qualifies as a leader in her junior season. The Cincinnati native was the top Ohio State finisher at the league meet last season, taking 41st. She also was the highest OSU placer at the All-Ohio meet with a 16th-place time of 18:54, which served as her 5K best in 2004.

Myers foresees Price building upon her success in 2004, especially after her much-improved times during the 2005 outdoor track season, where she established a school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

“Melanie is coming off a good season of track where she was an NCAA Regional qualifier in the steeple at 10:46,” Myers said. “I’m looking for Melanie to be one of our key contributors this season.”

If fellow junior Nicole Gliem can carry the success she has attained the last two track and field seasons to the grass course, she will supply major points for the cross country Buckeyes in 2005.

Last spring, she qualified for her second NCAA Mideast Regional meet in the 5K and posted a career-best 16:28.44 at the meet to finish sixth, earning a bid to the national meet.

Gliem and Price head into their third seasons as a Buckeye with classmate Jessica Neal, who did not compete in 2004.

“Jessica can be a bit timid on the cross country course,” Myers said. “But, I’m looking for her to step things up this year, have a good summer of training and really contribute.”

Sophomores comprise one-third of the 2005 roster. Laura Piper, the top miler on the track team, returns for her second season with the Scarlet and Gray. She ran in two cross country meets last season, posting a top 5K time of 19:25.5 at the All-Ohio. Melanie Grim and Brittanie Hall join Piper in their sophomore seasons. Hall ran in three meets a year ago and timed a best of 20:43.4. Grim did not run in 2004.

“All three had strong track seasons,” Myers said. “Brittanie and Melanie both set “P.R.” times in the 5,000. Laura set “P.R.” times in the 1,500 (4:35) and the mile (4:55). They all are at home on the track and I look for them to transfer that competitiveness to the cross country course. I am looking for all three to be key contributors.”

New Buckeyes
Rachel Stichter joins Ohio State this season after completing a stellar scholastic career at Wawasee High School in Milford, Ind.

“We are really looking forward to having Rachel compete for Ohio State,” Myers said. “She is an Indiana state runner-up in cross country with personal-record (P.R.) times of 13:53 for 4,000 meters. Rachel excels on the track as well. She was the 2005 3,200-meter state champion with a best of 10:41. She also has a “P.R.” of 4:56 in the 1,600 meter. Rachel is a good cross country runner. I will be looking for her to come in and be a key contributor to this squad.”

In addition, Stacey Pearson comes from the track distance team to run in her first season of cross country in 2005.

“I’m looking for Stacey to come in this fall and get a season of training and competion under her belt,” Myers said. “She is coming off an injury from indoor track. She is healthy and looking to have a good summer of training.”

Gary also is excited about the newcomers on the women’s team.

“Recruiting the caliber of athlete like Rachel and especially focusing on the state of Ohio, is the No. 1 priority of our program,” Gary said. “I expect the women’s team to begin being competitive in the league like the men’s team.”

Women’s Schedule
The women’s team will travel and compete in the same schedule as the men except for two meets in the middle of the season. On Sept. 24, the women will run in the Louisville Invitational in Louisville, Ky., while the men are in Minneapolis for the Griak Invite.

After the teams jointly run in the All-Ohio meet Oct. 7, they split again Oct. 15 for national meets.

The women head to State College, Pa., for the 2005 National Invitational, while the men are at Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.