Southeast hopes to ride experience to top-three finishes

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Southeast Missouri State cross country coach Miles Krieger knows his teams are long shots to contend for Ohio Valley Conference titles.

That's mainly due to the presence of perennial OVC power Eastern Kentucky, which swept last year's championships and are favored heavily to repeat.

But Krieger expects Southeast's men and women to again push for upper-division finishes in the 10-team conference.

Southeast's men were fourth in last year's OVC meet, and return most of their top runners. Southeast's women placed third in 2007, but were hit harder by graduation.

Both Southeast squads open the season Saturday at the Southern Indiana Stegemoller Classic.

"If our guys click, I think we can really do something," Krieger said. "We're pushing for top three in the conference.

"Our women are a very young team. We lost three of our top seven. If we could finish in the top three, I'd feel like we did a fantastic job."

Southeast's men return two of the 10 top finishers from last year's OVC meet as senior Brandon Karcher was ninth and sophomore Brandon Funderburk 10th.

Krieger also expects big things from junior Dustin Davis, who was 18th at the OVC meet despite being hampered by injuries.

Rounding out Southeast's top five scores from the OVC meet are sophomores Jason Lumpkin (30th) and Chris Loseman (32nd).

Also returning are junior Paul Stemmerman, sophomore Lucas Luckett and sophomore Jamie Lee.

Krieger expects freshman Nate Shipley to make an impact, along with sophomore transfer Richard Armstrong and redshirt freshman Cody Martin.

Rounding out the squad are freshmen T.J. Matthews and Nathan Lavanchy.

"We've got two of our top 10 runners back and three of our top 20," Krieger said. "My goal is to have three on the all-conference team [top 14].

"If we can do that, we'll be in good shape to fight for top three in the conference."

Southeast's women are led by senior standout Juli Koenegstein, seventh in last year's conference meet after placing eighth in 2006.

"She has the potential to be top five in the conference meet," Krieger said.

Sophomore Monica Noble finished 20th last year, while junior Linnea Woldtvedt was 25th.

Krieger looks for Woldtvedt, a Cape Girardeau Central High School graduate, to take a major step up.

"She has done a fantastic job," Krieger said.

Sophomore Kasey Owens was 34th a year ago, while senior Amy Warren returns after battling injuries.

Other returners are junior Katie Mueller and sophomore Samantha Shaw, who have seen their running limited by injuries.

Krieger expects freshmen Lauren Heidbrink, Danielle Henry and Lanie Haertling to push for spots in the lineup.

Rounding out the squad are junior newcomer Amy Guignon and freshman Kelley Good.

Southeast will host two meets, the Redhawks Classic on Oct. 17 and the OVC championships Nov. 1.

"We're excited about getting to host the OVC," Krieger said.

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