August 31, 2005

Bears Look To Climb Back Up In The Ranks Of Ivy League In 2005

Aug. 31, 2005

The Brown women's cross country team will open its 2005 season with a strong pair of front runners and a solid core of returning supporters. After a disappointing seventh place showing at last year's Heptagonals, newly appointed head coach Craig Lake will look to lead the lady harriers back up in the ranks of the Ivy League.

Junior Naja Ferjan (Ljubljana, Slovenia) will return to the cross country team after an impressive rookie season last year. Though she had not previously raced cross country, Ferjan led the Bears throughout the fall, most impressively with her 13th place finish at the Heptagonal Championships. Her time of 18:05 over the Van Cortlandt course led the team by nearly 25 seconds, and earned her second team All-Ivy honors. For her efforts, she was named co-MVP for the 2004 season.

Despite her newfound cross country talents, Ferjan's true passion is for the middle distance events, as she boasts two Heptagonal titles in the 800-meter run and anchored the school record 4x800 team. After her successful cross country season, she moved up to the 1,500-meter run and posted top ten times in that event as well. She hopes that the step up in distance last spring will translate to an even greater strength on the cross country course.

Junior Michol Monaghan (Uniontown, PA) will take to the course as the Bears' top finisher at the NCAA Regionals. Her breakthrough race placed her 45th in the Northeast Region. Monaghan went on to post impressive times on the track, scoring at the indoor Heps in the 5,000-meter race and then posting a top ten time (17:07) in the same event outdoors.

While the talented junior duo of Ferjan and Mongahan will headline the roster, they will have ample support from the small, but experienced roster. Senior captain Anna Willard (Greenwood, ME) will look to avenge a disappointing 2004 cross country season after posting solid times during the outdoor track season. She placed third at Heptagonals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and went on to take second in the event at ECAC's, labeling her as a potential threat in the Ivy League this cross country season.

Returning seniors Anya Davidson (Brunswick, ME) and Jilane Rodgers (Brea, CA) round out the class of 2006 and come prepared for their final campaigns with ample experience in the longer distances. While sophomore Alex Brown (Kingston, NY) was recruited for her abilities in the middle distance events, she tested the waters at the longer races this spring and came away with a personal best 17:59 for the 5,000-meter run.

Classmate Smita Gupta (Tulsa, OK) was the second Bear to cross the line at the NCAA Regionals last cross country season and after being voted last season's Outstanding Freshman, will look to fight for a spot on the varsity team. Junior Madeleine Marecki (Morris, CT) earned the Most Improved Award last season and could impact the varsity scoring as well.

Though graduation losses will not greatly impact the Bears' roster this season, several athletes have the potential to fill any lingering gaps. The class of 2009 boasts national caliber talent, with New York standout Lindsay Kahn (Port Jefferson, NY) leading the way. Kahn finished out an impressive high school career with her fourth place finish in the 2,000-meter steeplechase at the Nike Outdoor Nationals. Joining her will be Monika Najselova (Ziar nad Hronom, Slovakia) from Slovakia and middle-distance specialist Collen Gribbin (Bohemia, NY), who also hails from New York.

The women will kick-off the 2005 season at Dartmouth College on September 10.