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Women's Cross Country/Track and Field

August 29, 2007

Eagles looking to capture GLVC title,
Host Stegemoller Classic Saturday

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana women's cross country team opens the 2007 season when it hosts the Stegemoller Classic Saturday at the USI Cross Country Course. The women's 4k race begins at 6 p.m., while the men's 6k race starts at 6:30 p.m.

Named after the cross country program's founder (USI Hall of Fame Coach Bill Stegemoller), the Stegemoller Classic features USI, Bellarmine University, Oakland City University, Southeast Missouri State University, and Rend Lake College. Stegemoller, who retired from coaching in 1998, passed away last March following a bout with cancer.

The Screaming Eagles, ranked 21st in the Division II Preseason Poll, enter 2007 in search of their first conference title since the 2003 season and first trip to the NCAA II Championships since 2005. There is reason to believe that the Eagles can accomplish both goals as they return the top runner in the GLVC in junior Allison Shafer (Plainville, Indiana).

Shafer continued USI's run of three straight individual titles last year when she captured the conference championship. She used that momentum in the fall to earn All-America honors in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track.

Also returning to give the Eagles a lift in 2007 are seniors Katy Simutis (Mt. Vernon, Indiana) and Meagan Scheidler (Terre Haute, Indiana) as well as junior Marcia Weflen (Rossville, Indiana). Simutis ran top-three for the Eagles in six meets last year, while Scheidler ran top-seven in one meet in 2006. Weflen was 31st at the conference championships in 2006 and had a solid season on the track last spring.

USI's sophomore class gives it a major boost as transfer Mary Ballinger (Chesterton, Indiana) and returning runner Christy Dixon (Owensboro, Kentucky) will lead one of USI's most talented classes.

Ballinger was one of Indiana University/Purdue University-Ft. Wayne's top runners as a freshman in 2006-07, breaking the Mastodon's school-record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase while Dixon red-shirted last year after running top-seven in a pair of meets for USI as a freshman in 2005.

Also look for sophomores Sarah Baysden (Shelbyville, Indiana), Lacy Williams (Haubstadt, Indiana), and Sarah Whiteman (Bloomington, Indiana) to make an impact on the squad this season. Whiteman ran top six for the Eagles in every race last season, while Baysden was the 2007 GLVC Outdoor Track and Field champion in the 10,000 meters.

Competition for the top seven spots in the Eagles' line-up includes freshmen Holly Bartelt (Huntington, Indiana), Heather Beard (Westfield, Indiana), and Kristi Vest (Pekin, Indiana). All three were state qualifiers in cross country, while Beard was a member of the of Westfield High School's 2005 and 2006 state championship teams.

Following the Stegemoller Classic, USI travels to West Lafayette, Indiana, to compete in the Indiana Intercollegiate September 14. The GLVC Championships are October 20 in Indianapolis, Indiana, while the NCAA II Great Lakes<

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