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Austin Peay Women’s Cross Country heads to Nashville to kickoff Season at Belmont Opener

Austin Peay Sports Information

Austin Peay State University Lady Govs - APSUClarksville, TN – A senior and a sophomore will lead the Austin Peay State University women’s cross country team as it kicks off the 2014 season at 5:30pm, Friday, in the Belmont Opener, hosted by Belmont at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, TN.

Austin Peay Women's Cross Country. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Women’s Cross Country. (APSU Sports Information)

The meet will feature Ohio Valley Conference foes Belmont, Murray State and Tennessee State as well as Kentucky, Purdue and Vanderbilt.

The Lady Govs lost four seniors from last year’s squad including Xiamar Richards, who was the top finisher for the team at the NCAA Regional meet, finished in the top-10 on five different occasions, and led the team in each race since her freshman season.

“It’s hard to replace a multiple record holder like Xiamar,” said head coach Doug Molnar, “but we are thankful that she is helping out with the team while she finishes up her degree.”

Senior Jessica Gray and sophomore Molly Jordan look to lead the young Lady Govs team. Gray, who earned a top-10 finish at the Fleet Feet Sports Invitational last season, was also a four-time NAIA All-American in track while attending Bethel University.

The Lady Govs fortunes will be boosted by a pair of transfers. Michaela McDonough (Savannah State), and Aleiha Nicole Romero (Palomar College) look to add leadership to the young squad. In addition to the upperclassmen, the Lady Govs feature a pair of sophomore runners. Jordan, who claimed a top-10 finish in last year’s Fleet Feet Invite and owns the school freshman record in the two mile, and Unjala Lester, who placed in the top-30 on two occasions return for their second season with the team.

Rounding out the squad is a pair of freshmen, Becca Wheeler (Springboro, Ohio) and Sarah-Emily Woodward (Rockfield, Kentucky). With such a balanced team, every meet is a new opportunity for runners to make their mark.

“We are going to run with a pack mentality”, said Molnar. “It is very possible we could have a different front runner every week.

The Lady Govs, who were picked to finish seventh in the annual Ohio Valley Conference preseason coaches poll, will continue their season Friday, September 5th, when they take part in the Powerade Invitational, hosted by Chattanooga.

Video – Doug Molnar