Lady Harriers prepare to defend regional title on Oct. 25
The LCC women’s cross country team will return to familiar Grand Woods Park, but with elevated stakes. The Stars are hosting the 2014 NJCAA Region XII Meet on Saturday, Oct. 25.
Just like their male LCC counterparts, the women have spent the majority of the past two decades as reigning champions, holding 15 of the last 17 titles.
LCC Head Coach Jim Robinson said he is looking at standout LCC freshman Kayla Kraft and sophomore Allison Dible to lead the Lady Harriers to a 16th title.
“Kayla has been outstanding for a freshman runner; she should be right in the mix to win the regional title as a freshman,” Robinson said. “Allison is really, really consistent, so I expect her to be right there.”
Having yet to lose to a community college in any race in the 2014 season, the women are expecting to go into the meet and emerge victorious, according to LCC freshman Kelly Babcock.
“I think all of us have prepared well enough for regionals,” Babcock said. “We just need to keep in our minds like Coach [Robinson] has been saying: we need to confident in the workouts he’s had us do.”
As a first-year runner this will be Babcock’s first race at an NJCAA regional meet.
“I’m excited,” Babcock said. “The connection I have with the girls on this team; we want to be there for each other. We want to get the team as ahead as possible to make sure that we all do the best we can and that means a lot to me.”
As with the men, the women’s program has had a history of constantly being the team to beat year in and year out. Babcock confidently explained that the pressure is almost nonexistent for her and her team.
“I don’t think it’s pressure,” she said. “I think it’s a tradition, I think it’s impressive and I think we all just want to keep that tradition going.”
Course conditions going in were favorable for the women’s race. Mix that with knowledge of the course, as well as top-flight talent, and the title is rightly the Stars to lose. Robinson joked that if he could have a bet, he’d bet on his team.
Robinson was asked how he expected his 2014 team to finish at the regional championship and his answer reflected the way his team has been coached.
“I expect a long blue line,” he said.