Beaver Falls, PA – The first NAIA cross country poll was released on Wednesday and Geneva′s women received their second highest rating in school history. The Golden Tornadoes came in with a tie for 22nd on the NAIA′s top 25 poll. It is only the second time a Geneva cross country team has appeared in the NAIA national rankings.
After just one meet, the Golden Tornadoes have shown to be quite impressive. Placing third at the Case Western Reserve meet on September 2nd, Geneva outlasted several Division I, II and III schools.
The only senior on the squad, Demetria Koutsourais was Geneva′s top finisher. The 2006 NAIA national qualifier in the marathon, placed 10th overall at Case Western with a time of 19:43. Beth Bartolomeo finished 12th in that event and has since also qualified for the NAIA national meet in the marathon. Running alongside Koutsourais this past weekend at the IKEA Montour ½ Marathon, Bartolomeo brought in a time of one hour and 29 minutes to qualify for the 2007 NAIA national meet.
Geneva′s top runner from a year ago, Rebecca VanRegenmorter, has continued her progression back from an off-season injury. VanRegenmorter competed at the NAIA cross country meet for Geneva in 2005, which was her first collegiate season.
An example of Geneva′s consistency from top to bottom was that a total of six runners finished in the top 50 at Case Western two weeks ago.
Geneva′s women will be back in action as a team this weekend when they travel to Waynesburg College. Because Koutsourais and Bartolomeo ran the ½ marathon last weekend, it is still unclear whether they will compete at Waynesburg this weekend.
"We are very excited about the ranking,” said head coach Bret Otte. “These girls have all worked extremely hard to get to this point. They all feed off of one and other and push each other to succeed. I am a bit concerned about this weekend if Dee (Koutsourais) and Beth (Bartolomeo) are unable to run. We don′t want to take any steps backward as a team, but we needed Beth to qualify last weekend and she did exactly what she set out to do.”
Geneva′s lone home cross country meet, which will be run at Fisher′s of Boys Camp in Darlington, will take place on October 7th. Geneva will also compete at the Presidents′ Athletic Conference Championships and the American Mideast Conference Championships later this fall. The NAIA national meet in Louisville, KY will take place on November 18th.