DURHAM, N.H. - Returning five individual conference champions, the University of New Hampshire women's cross country team is poised to have its best finish ever in America East in 2003.
The five seniors that the Wildcat coaching staff is hoping will put UNH over the top are co-captain Lesley Read (Dover, N.H.), Katie Litwinowich (Holden, Mass.), Megan Hepp (Milton, Vt.), co-captain Caitlin Hayes (Keene, N.H.) and Allison March (Londonderry, N.H.).
Read, a 1000m champion and former steeplechase champion, was eighth at last season's conference championship. Litwinowich, an 800m champion, finished right behind Read in 2002 at ninth. Hepp, the current conference steeplechase champion, took 14th last year.
Hayes, who redshirted the cross country season last year, is the defending conference 10K champion. March, the winner of the America East outdoor 5K last spring, finished 21st a year ago.
Also expected to contribute to the Wildcats' run to the championship are junior Michelle Zitta (East Swanzey, N.H.), a member of the conference champion 4 x 800m relay team, senior Lisa Winn (Rye, N.H.) and junior Mary Garrity (Manchester, N.H.).
The men and women open the season at Providence College's Goddard Park on Friday, Sept. 5 (3:30 p.m.). The conference championships will be at the University at Albany this season on Nov. 1.