Cougar Women's Cross Country Raises the Bar for 2007

Aug. 27, 2007

PULLMAN, Wash. - After watching the men's cross country team compete at the NCAA meet last fall, the Washington State University women's team is ready to experience the same success. This competitive desire served as motivation during the off-season and will have the Cougars looking sharp in the fall.

'On the women's side we still have some unfinished business to do,' Cougar Head Coach Jason Drake said.

Redshirt junior Meghan Leonard (Newberg, Ore.), along with seniors Haley Paul (Phoenix, Ariz.), Collier Lawrence (Reno, Nev.), and Isley Gonzalez (Sunnyside, Wash.), will provide leadership on a talented squad. All four were consistently top finishers for the team, and have experience in the big races, such as Pac-10s and the NCAA regional meets. But Paul, a 2005 All-American, will sit out the first part of the season because of injury, but plans to return in late October for post-season racing.

Were the Cougar women green with envy over the men's team success in 2006?

'I think it is more of a motivation factor for our team,' said Leonard. 'We saw that they could do it so why can't we?'

Sophomores Lisa Egami (Coquitlam, British Columbia), Sara Trané (Pixbo, Sweden), and Chelsea VanDeBrake (Yakima, Wash.) showed promise last season, and will look to be an integral part of this year's line-up.

The rest of the squad contains runners with little experience on a collegiate course, but talent that could prove essential to the team. Redshirt sophomore Marisa Sandoval (Los Alamos, NM), and redshirt freshmen Anna Layman (Spokane Valley, Wash.), Stephanie Sipes (Gig Harbor, Wash.), and Rebecca Williams (Federal Way, Wash.) all could contribute to the 2007 season.

Freshmen Amanda Andrews (Gig Harbor, Wash.), Jessica Crannell (Portland, Ore.), Beth Mathison (Pullman, Wash.), and Ashlee Wall (Walla Walla, Wash.) add local and regional talent to the squad.

With depth, experience, and talent, Drake believes the Cougar women have the potential to be as successful as the men. A commitment to training and solid recruiting has WSU ready to rise to the challenge of success in 2007.

'Hopefully with all those people who have been there so many times, they know what's going on, and add a couple of talented freshman and they should really help us,' Drake said.

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