'08 Cross Country Preview

Women's cross country team searching for identity

Head coach Chad Perry trying to find consistency as program progresses.

By JEFF LETOFSKY, THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN

Finding an equal to the best runner in the history of the program will be difficult for second-year Colorado State University-Pueblo women's cross country coach Chad Perry.

Gone is Lauren Dunsmoor, the first all-American women's cross country athlete in the history of the school. Dunsmoor, who will help in the program as an assistant, finished 11th at the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships in Joplin, Mo., last season.

That came on the heels of a stellar season in which she was second in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships and seventh in the NCAA Division II North Central Regional Championships.

Replacing Dunsmoor will be nearly impossible. But she has set a standard for future runners in the program.

"In cross country, we still have a long way to go," Perry said. "We need to get a couple more key girls to be able to have a team where you can consistently finish with five runners running under 24 minutes. It's going to take a little time to get those key distance runners." Perry does have a handful of girls who will initially form this year's squad.

Sisters Lindsey Herrera, a junior, and Michelle Herrera, a freshman, hail from Pueblo West High School and will be among the team's top four runners, according to Perry. And freshmen Cassidy Ferguson from Eaton and Tara Lindsey-Chavez from Pomona round out the top four.

Also in the mix is senior Chaimie Pewitt.

Two freshmen - Liz Arroyo from Fountain and Elizabeth Lewis from George Washington, will redshirt.

"Lindsey (Herrera) will probably be my No. 1 runner," Perry said. "Michelle is very competitive and Ferguson and Chavez are true cross country runners."

Perry said getting organized as a group is his top priority.

"This year my goal is to have five girls finish the meet," Perry said. "Last year we had to go get other girls from other sports to run.

"My biggest goal is to get a team together that trains together and shows up to practice. We need to build that philosophy if we're going to be successful."

The Pack has five meets on tap this fall starting with the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Invitational Sept. 6 in Colorado Springs. The RMAC Championships are slated for Oct. 25 in Grand Junction with Mesa State College as the host.