Blue Demons Set for BIG EAST Cross Country Championships
Jackie Kasal heads up the DePaul women's team at Friday's BIG EAST Conference Cross Country Championships.

Oct. 24, 2012

CHICAGO - Leah Bohr and Andrew Craycraft are keeping their fingers crossed about Friday's BIG EAST Conference Cross Country Championships in the Bronx, N.Y.

"This could be an historic race for the men's team if they all show up and do what they are capable of doing," assistant cross country coach Bohr said with fellow assistant coach Craycraft nodding in agreement. "If that happens, we could have our best BIG EAST finish as a team.

"Ninth has been our best finish. Eddie McDaniel is going to set the tone for the race. There's no doubt in my mind that Herald Alvarez is ready to go.

"If Max Rodrigues, Zack Koronkiewicz and Max Clink want to join Herald, that would be great. They could step up and take off when Herald goes. Eddie is our leader, but any one of the others could be our No. 2."

The theme this season has been pack mentality, and the men's 8K race with a 10:50 a.m. start at Van Cortlandt Park would be the perfect time for the Blue Demons to bunch up with season-best performances.

"If all five do well, it could make a big difference," Bohr said. "It all comes down to how No. 2 to No. 5 perform. We need each guy to have their best race on the same day.

"This is what we've been working towards, and I don't think it's too much to ask."

The Blue Demon women's team will once again be led by Jackie Kasal in the women's 6K race that begins at 10 a.m.

"The team continues to move forward, and we want to keep the momentum going," Bohr said. "We're looking for a good performance from Jackie. Coach Craycraft and I are hoping for a top 40 finish from her. Freshman Molly Shiroishi has also been having a great season for us."



The teams to beat in the 14-team men's field are defending champion Villanova, 2011 runner-up Georgetown, Louisville and fourth-place finisher Syracuse. The Orange are ranked No. 16 in the USTFCCCA (United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) national poll. Villanova is No. 25 and Georgetown No. 27.

The top returning individuals are last year's seventh-place finisher Mark Dennin of Georgetown, Notre Dame's Martin Grady (10th) and Villanova's Sam McEntee (11th).

In the women's field, Villanova is racing for its fourth consecutive BIG EAST title. The USTFCCCA No. 22-ranked Wildcats are among the favorites along with No. 9 Georgetown, No. 10 Providence and No. 19 Notre Dame.

The individuals expected to be at the front of the pack are Providence's Emily Sisson (fourth last year) and Laura Nagel (sixth) along with Connecticut's Lauren Sara (eighth).

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