Aug. 29, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) - SMU's cross country roster has quite a few new names on it, but coach Cathy Casey is still anticipating a successful season in the school's last as a member of the Conference USA.
"We do have a lot of new girls, but they trained hard and are ready to defend our conference title," Casey said.
The team has won three of the last four C-USA cross country titles, and in the team's last season before moving to the Big East in 2013-14, the Mustangs would love to win one more.
Even though Casey is very confident in her newcomers, she knows that the team's lone senior, Mary Alenbratt, is critical to SMU's results.
"(Alenbratt) is the key to our success," Casey said. "Her senior leadership is certainly helping the other girls."
The Bohus, Sweden, native had a terrific junior season. She was named to the All-Region team and finished 21st at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships on Nov. 12 with a time of 21:36.6. She was also named to the All-Conference Second Team and took 12th place at the C-USA Championships with a time of 17:37.7 on Oct. 31.
Casey noted that the whole team has had a good offseason, including the new members of the team.
"We're excited about our newcomers," Casey said. "We're excited about what they can do."
One intriguing freshman is Karoline Skatteboe, a native of Jar, Norway. Skatteboe won numerous national junior championships in Norway, and also finished 18th at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
Casey also pointed out newcomers Ashley Powers and Shanoah Souza, two freshmen from California who have experience running in very competitive meets in the California high school circuit.
The coaching staff feels strongly about the roster and believes that the early meets in the season will provide a good test to the recent additions. The season starts Friday in Waco at the Bear Twilight Invitational, hosted by Baylor.
"It's a good meet to go run against some good competition and see where we're at," Casey said.
The season will continue with two additional local events, on Sept. 8 in Arlington (hosted by the University of Texas-Arlington) and on Sept. 15 at the University of North Texas.
Things will get a little more heated as SMU will then travel to Notre Dame on Sept. 28 for its first meet outside of Texas. The Mustangs will then head to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Chile Pepper Invitational on Oct. 13.
SMU's bid for a fourth C-USA title in the last five years will take place at the Conference USA Championships in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Oct. 29.