TC returns five runners in race for improvement

The Tabor College cross-country team returns five runners after ending the 2009 season with a seventh-place finish by the women and ninth place by the men in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Erin Fleming is Tabor?s top returning woman. The Denver sophomore clocks in around 21:30 in the 5-kilometer race.

?She improved a lot last year,? said second-year coach Dan Swaney. ?She took two and a half minutes off her time from high school.?

With times close to the Bluejays? 2009 national qualifier Christina Addison (20:10), freshman Brielle Lund, from Green, will fill the No. 1 for the Bluejays.

Three other freshman have joined the team, including Nicole Hurley from Valparaiso, Neb., who will fill a varsity slot. That leaves the other two spots in question.

?I?m anxious to see how our No. 4 and 5 fill out,? Swaney said. ?That will really be the big determiner of how the team score goes in the conference.?

Swaney thinks the Bluejays can improve from last season.

?We have a chance to be a fair bit better, depending on how those No. 4 and 5 runners do,? he said. ?We?ll definitely be stronger at the front end of the team.?

Like the women, the Tabor men added depth in the top spots. The No. 1 position is up for grabs between Wichita sophomore Jacob Heil and freshman Dylan Crawford from Edmond, Okla. Crawford has finished ahead of Heil in some early practices, Swaney said.

Wichita junior Matt Spurgeon is expected to fill the No. 3 spot if he can stay healthy. He was injured during his sophomore campaign and missed part of the season.

Also, like the Bluejay women, how well Tabor performs in team competition will depend on question marks at the No. 4 and 5 positions.

But Swaney predicts the men also will improve from 2009.

?The men have a chance to be a fair bit better than last year also,? he said. ?We?ll be deeper up front.?

Tabor starts its season Sept. 4 at the J.K. Gold Classic hosted by the RAFT Golf Course in Augusta.

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