Revamped women begin life after Winter

By Kate Fratar

Some teams take on a new season with all the right parts to work with. From there, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to piece them together.

For the talent-deep women’s cross-country squad, the greatest obstacle on the course this fall has been the reshuffling of runners into new roles following the departure of lead point scorer Jessica Winter (A.B. ’06).

“Our women’s team is going to have to be better at positions four and five than we were last year, but I think that we are. I think we’re going to be better at six and seven as well,” said head coach Chris Hall. “So far they haven’t found that right meet where we’ve had our top five performing where they’re capable of in that given time.”

Without the luxury of relying on All-American Winter to consistently lock up a second-place finish, the Maroons knew that their top seven runners would have to push their competition harder and start setting the pace for the rest of the team. So far, Chicago has shown flashes of its potential in its first four meets of 2006. Fourth-years Dilshanie Perera, Vidthya Abraham, and Jackie Kropp have stepped up as the new leaders of the pack that has yet to have everyone hit their stride at the same meet. With UAAs looming just two meets away and quickly followed by the Midwest Regional and NCAA Championships, that’s a mark the Maroons hope to be reaching soon.

“We want to be at our best at championship meets,” said Hall. “We would never sacrifice an early peak just to say we had a great performance.”

Nearing the halfway point on the season, the women’s side most recently finished 12th of 19 on Saturday at the Loyola Lakefront Invitation after opening the year by coming in third of 17 at the Elmhurst Earlybird Invite.

Spotlight on: Dilshanie Perera