Date Posted:09/10/2003,  2:30PM

2003 Cross-Country Preview

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Bowdoin men's and women's cross-country teams have been as solid as any school in New England over the past few seasons. The men's team grabbed the NESCAC title in 2001 and repeated last season, while the women's team has been consistently among the top five in New England. In 2003, the Polar Bears will look to run to more success under the direction of head coach Peter Slovenski, who enters his 17th season at Bowdoin.

The women?s team returns four of their top six runners from last year and will look to compete well against perennial powers Williams and Middlebury. The squad is led by two-time state champion Audra Caler (Waldo, Maine). Senior Kala Hardacker (Leeds, Maine) and juniors Kate Landry (Goffstown, N.H.) and Ellen Beth (Holden, Mass.) will pace the team. Hardacker along with classmates Lynne Davies (Stony Brook, N.Y.) and Chelsea Spector (Tolland, Conn.) will provide valuable leadership to a fairly young team. The Polar Bears were third in the 2002 NESCAC Championship and third in New England last season, placing 14th in Nationals as well.

"Our women?s team hopes to be able to match our performance from 2002," according to coach Slovenski. "A top-14 finish in Nationals is our goal and I certainly think we have the personnel and leadership to get us there."

The men's team has been hit hard with graduation in the past two years. However, seniors Scott Herrick (Mount Airy, Md.) and Taylor Washburn (Amherst, Mass.) will pace the still very-talented squad. Juniors Ben Peisch (Still River, Mass.) and Patrick Hughes (Cincinnati, Ohio) will assume larger roles this year. Sophomore Andrew Combs (Swarthmore, Pa.) and first-year Owen McKenna (Amston, Conn.) will also be counted on for contributions.

"Coming off the two best seasons in Bowdoin cross-country in a half-century, we're going to adjust our expectations this year with the men?s team," says Slovenski. "Instead of teams chasing us this year, we're starting in the middle of the pack at the beginning and going to work our way up. I have a lot of confidence in our top runners, but we're going to need some runners to develop over the course of the year."

The Polar Bears open on Saturday, September 10 at Colby and will climax their season at the NESCAC's in Middlebury, Vermont on November 1. Following the NESCAC's will be New England's on November 15 and NCAA?s on November 22.