Following a significant influx of talent, the University of Redlands men's and women's cross country teams look forward to an exciting 2012 season, as they work to build upon strong individual performances while developing a higher level of success. The focus now becomes more about the team as a whole, one in which everyone has the ability to contribute to the Bulldogs' upward movement within the nationally competitive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) and beyond.
While taking on regional powerhouses and opponents from all NCAA divisions, Redlands strives to make a name for itself as a more complete program with depth and versatility within each team.
For the Bulldog women, Head Coach Mike Schmidt relies on the talented youth and improved veterans to combine efforts for an upward swing in the overall production of the squad.
Among the contenders for top performances, sophomore Della Lyle (Buffalo, WY) returns to action and picks up right where she left off toward the end of her stellar rookie season that culminated in her First-Team All-SCIAC honor.
"We look for big things from Della this year," Schmidt said.
Her solid training during the summer as well as her impressive showings from 2011 bode well for the Bulldogs' elevation.
In addition, junior Vanessa Anchondo (Oceanside, CA) enters her third season with high expectations. Consistently improving from year to year, she sits primed and ready for a true breakout season due to arriving to campus well prepared for competition.
Senior Madison Smith (Redlands, CA) rejoins the squad after studying abroad last fall. This amazing competitor exudes the ideals of a smart and tactical racer, which sets the stage for a strong showing in her final season.
Following a successful debut in 2011, junior Courtney Mera (Redlands, CA) brings excellent leadership as well as the ability to serve as an impact runner.
In addition, sophomores Brittney Brandt (Santa Maria, CA), Amanda Pierce (Foster City, CA) and Zoe Wescoe (La Jolla, CA), junior Ellie Aguilera (Lemoore, CA), and seniors Carla Griego (Albuquerque, NM) and Brooke McCawley (Ripon, CA) add depth and versatility to the lineup.
Finally, the Bulldogs welcome a quartet of newcomers to the team, with freshman Lauren Roberts (Portland, OR) headlining the group as one of the squad's top harriers. Look for her to make important contributions to the scoring five.
Freshmen Mary Martin (Brookline, NH), Angelina Nuti (Oakland, CA), and Jessie Talbert (Santa Fe, NM), along with junior transfer Jenae Dreher (Redlands, CA), bolster the lineup for the Maroon and Gray.
The Redlands men boast the largest roster in recent history, as the program implements a new expectation of toughness. The team works to benefit from its new commitment to overall improvement, both in terms of strength and pace on the course.
"We're excited to see what we can accomplish," Schmidt stated.
The Bulldogs excitedly welcome back senior Tom Marshall (Hillsboro, OR) after a year away to study abroad. His leadership and successful track & field season set the tone for a solid final campaign with the Maroon and Gray cross country team.
In addition, sophomore Chris Bolt (Reno, NV) enters his second year as a Bulldog with influential experience from last season. Count on his dedicated training and overall racing skills to become more and more evident at every outing.
"Being a year older makes a big difference at the college level," Schmidt said. "Chris is really thriving so far."
Boasting what is likely the most experience within the men's program, junior Derik Harrison (Centennial, CO) looks forward to putting it all together in 2012.
With nine freshmen joining the squad, the Redlands men hold high hopes for a banner year while turning some heads among the SCIAC.
"We are definitely young and talented, and we're excited for great improvement," Schmidt commented.
Leading the rookie crew, freshman Hunter Holthaus (San Diego, CA) is exceeding all expectations due to his hugely successful summer of training.
"We have been surprised and very pleased with Hunter so far," Schmidt added.
Furthermore, rookie Jonathon DeGroot (San Leandro, CA) looks to convert his 800m speed into impressive pace as a cross country runner, while first-year runner Jarron Helbock (San Diego, CA) boasts the tools to create success at the collegiate level.
The team also looks forward to the immediate contributions of freshmen Chris Jachowski (San Ramon, CA), Ian Lee (Las Vegas, NV), Nathan Meier (Riverside, CA), and Adam Yarnell (Upland, CA). Finally, freshmen Pekthra Chhor (Fresno, CA) and Robert Garcia-Magdaleno (Pico Rivera, CA) complete this talented class of first-year competitors.
With the personnel to achieve their goals, the Bulldogs anticipate this season to be one to remember as they raise the bar on the program's recent history. With Schmidt and his assistant coaches leading the way, Redlands cross country excitedly embarks upon the 2012 campaign with a new attitude for resurgence among the conference and beyond.