Lady Harriers DeBos, Rodriguez Selected to HCAC Watch List
GREENWOOD, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference released its preseason poll Monday morning with the DC women’s cross country team slated for a sixth-place finish. The squad looks to prove that ranking wrong, as they train at their preseason camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Two Jackets were named HCAC Runners to Watch in senior Erika DeBos and sophomore Brianna Rodriguez.
Coach John Hartpence is in his sixth season at the helm of the Defiance College cross country and track and field programs, where he works primarily with athletes in the distance, hurdles, and field events. After a middle of the road campaign last season, the Purple and Gold look to get back into the top-three of the conference standings as they did in 2010.
Senior Erika DeBos landed on the HCAC Watch List for the first time in her career with the nomination. For the 2011 season, DeBos set a personal-best time of 21:16.7 at the Penn State-Behrend Invitational on September 17. The Rootstown, Ohio, native finished fourth or better among DC harriers in four-of-six meets along with placing in the top-40 overall in three competitions.
Also receiving the honor of Preseason HCAC Runner to Watch for the first time is sophomore Brianna Rodriguez. In a very impressive freshman campaign, Rodriguez placed second on the team in each of the last four meets, including a 24th-place finish at the HCAC Conference Championships on October 29. With DC’s top runner graduated, the sophomore looks to fill those big shoes and be the lead runner for the Lady Harriers.
Defiance scored a total of 51 points in the HCAC women’s cross country poll for a projected sixth place finish in the conference. This was ahead of Earlham (38) and just behind rival Bluffton (55).
Manchester was chosen at the top of the poll with 98 points and nine-of-10 first-place votes, while Franklin grabbed second with 90 and the other first-place vote. Hanover (82) was picked third to round out the top three.
The Yellow Jackets will open the 2012 season at the Manchester-Hokum Karem meet on September 1 in North Manchester, Ind. The meet is scheduled for 11:00 AM.