Richards Looks to Russo to Lead Women's Cross Country to Success in 2017 Season

Richards Looks to Russo to Lead Women's Cross Country to Success in 2017 Season

To open the 2017 Siena Heights women's cross country season, the Saints will travel to Grand Rapids for the Calvin College Invitational, on Saturday. The 5 kilometer race will start at 10 a.m.

Last season, SHU had one runner earn All-Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference honors. Now senior, Ashley Russo claimed the runner-up position at the WHAC Championship Race with a lone bid to the NAIA National Championship Race with a time of 18:26.1. At nationals, Russo took 62nd, crossing the finish line at 18:23.01. As a team, Siena Heights remained in the top-25 conversation as receiving-votes and was ranked No. 25 for a week, prior to missing the bid to nationals.

This season, Head Coach Kirk Richards looks to Russo and freshmen Megan Rosales and Andrea Crowe to be the team's key runners this season. "Rosales comes to the Saints as a four-time State Champion in 2017 in track and field while Crowe gives Rosales a "run for her money" every day at practice," states Richards.

Sophomores Madeline Auth, Kelsey Hunt, Michayla Miller and Emily Gebhardt will also be key contributors to the Saints' success in the underclassmen-heavy team.

When talking about the important races this season, Richards discusses a different focus, "Most importantly we are building a running culture and improving are most important this year. We are currently not ranked nationally and ranked fourth in the WHAC. We are going to try to do something about that very soon."