It has been nearly a quarter of a century since Franklin & Marshall's cross country team sat alone atop of the Division III world. The 1985 harriers captured the NCAA's mahogany and gold, and two seasons have gone by since the last Diplomat ran a race at the NCAA's National Championship meet. In all likelihood, the 2009 Diplomats will not be hoisting Centennial or NCAA trophies, but the journey back starts with the first step.
The first step will be taken on Saturday when F&M opens the cross country season at the Delaware Valley College Invitational. The goals are modest for John Stoudt's team. The second year coach has emphasized improvement in each race, particularly in the Conference championship meet.
"This is a new team with a new attitude and we are going to go in a different direction," says Stoudt.
Leading the team on its new course are returning runners Emily Wilson, Amy Jordan, Kelly Farrelly, and Jenna Bush, all of whom ran well in the summer. That group has been at the core of the team over the past two seasons, and will get a boost from the incoming freshmen.
Stoudt expects first-year Alexis Teevins to run in the top five at the outset. Teevins was a four-year letterwinner and four-time all-league honoree. Getting a healthy Megan Hunter back into the pack should help the Diplomats climb in the team standings each week as well. Hunter should be available by the middle to later portion of the season.