Senior Mary Alenbratt
Oct. 26, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) - The SMU Mustangs cross country team is looking to win its fourth Conference USA championship in the last five seasons as they travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., for the Monday meet.
Led by senior Mary Alenbratt and freshmen Karoline Skatteboe and Ashlee Powers, the Mustangs believe they can yet again take home the conference crown, in the school's last year as a member of the C-USA.
"I am confident our team will win," Powers said. "We have a strong group of girls and we are all finally healthy. We are definitely set for another championship. We have to leave the Conference USA with a bang, of course."
SMU has won two events this season; the Mustangs tied for first at the University of Texas-Arlington Invitational on Sept. 8, and won at the University of North Texas meet. The Mustangs also posted an impressive finish of ninth at the Notre Dame Invitational in a field of some of the strongest teams in the nation. Most recently, SMU finished third out of 43 teams at the Chile Pepper Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.
Alenbratt, the team's lone senior, led the way at the Chile Pepper, finishing 11th overall. The Bohus, Sweden, native has been steady all season, and is looking forward to improving on her 12th-place finish at the C-USA Championships last season.
"Unfortunately, this is my last cross country season," Alenbratt said. "Therefore, I'm trying to enjoy every single moment. I couldn't have asked for a better last season than this with this motivated team. We have so many new awesome and talented girls that will continue bringing titles for cross country when we move into the Big East next year."
Alenbratt's experience, along with terrific newcomers Powers and Skatteboe, could very well lead SMU to the conference title. The Mustangs have sights beyond conference, too. SMU would like to perform well at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships.
"Our team wants to win," Skatteboe said. "That has been our goal from day one. Our team has been doing great. We have had some illnesses and stuff like that which makes me confident we still can take it up a level, and that's the plan for this weekend and regionals."
Solid performances at these next two events would mean the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Championships. Qualifying would be a huge accomplishment for this young squad, and would be a bright sign for the future of the program.
"This team is truly a blessing," Powers said. "Coming in as a freshman, I did not know what to expect. These girls have made this adjustment so easy and I wouldn't want to take this journey with any other group of girls.
"This season as a whole has been amazing. Of course, there have been minor bumps in the road, but a season will never be completely perfect. This season alone foreshadows a great future for the SMU cross country team."