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Cross Country Looks To Make Bigger Strides In 2017

Cross Country Looks To Make Bigger Strides In 2017

ST. LOUIS, Mo.—The Fontbonne University men's and women's cross country teams hit the course today at the Western Illinois University Early Bird.

After competing at the SLIAC Tournament the Griffins closed out the 2016 year at the NCAA Division III Midwest Regionals.

There, the team shined with four of the five Fontbonne women running recording a season or career personal best as did the team's lone male runner.

"Last year's performance was very gratifying because we had a completely new women's team," said head coach Chris Buckler. "The team came together and had the best chemistry of any team that I've coached at Fontbonne. By the end of the year, all of our additions had ran personal best times and became true cross country runners. On the men's side, we were fortunate that the runners we had continued to improve and keep the program going in the right direction."

This year, Coach Buckler returns four of his five runners on the women's team and will welcome two new male runners to the program in Jacob Dixon and Hayden Yates.

"On the women's side, I know we will continue to improve just seeing where we are after our summer program and fall camp," added Buckler. "If we can stay healthy, we have the talent to finish in the top half of the SLIAC. We haven't finished in the top half of the conference since 2012 and in the toughest region in the country we hope to continue to climb the ladder and compete with the Top 25 in the country."

Buckler added, "On the men's side, we have two newcomers that will do tremendous things over their careers. We hope with the program to push for one or both of them to make All-Conference and challenge for a trip to the National Championships."

Throughout the year fans should keep an eye on multiple runners but should keep a keen eye on Jennie Stare, "If she can stay healthy and focused, she will break into the school's Top 10 and push for All-Conference honors," said Buckler. "The "Fab Five" of Katie Gosser, Colleen Gosser, Sarah Rhoads, Emily Bay and Julianne Cadieux will take running as a pack to a whole new level as they'll use what they learned from their freshman campaign."

Buckler continued, "As for the men's team, with only two runners, both will be battling for the top spot and All-Conference at the SLIAC Championships."

Fans make sure to stay updated on throughout the year for full updates and recaps on the cross country teams.