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Women's Cross Country Heads to NCAA Southeast Regional

The Chanticleers have three of their top six runners competing.

Nov. 13, 2009

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Chants Head to the NCAA Southeast Regional
Coastal Carolina travels to Louisville, Ky., to participate in the NCAA Southeast Regional with only three of its top six runners competing. Lining up for the Chants are Janel Reeves, Shelby Donahue, Christian Johnson, Theresa Schamberger, Jessica Dennison and Rindi Wood. The event is scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m., and is hosted by the University of Louisville.

NCAA Southeast Regional History
The Coastal Carolina women’s cross country team have been the most successful team from the Big South and the state of South Carolina over the past 15 years at the NCAA Southeast Regional. The Chants have had seven top-10 finishes, 16 All-Southeast Region Athletes and seven athletes who have qualified to go to the NCAA National Championship, which is the top four individuals not on the qualified teams. The last two times the Southeast Regionals were held at Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky., the Chants had two different top-five individual finishers in Julia Viellehner and Diana Jepchirchir. Both finished fifth out of over 230 runners in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Both Viellehner and Jepchirchir went on to earn All-American honors at the NCAA National Championship by finishing 11th and 29th, respectively. Coastal Carolina’s highest finish at Regionals ever was in 1996, when it placed third as a team out of 77 teams. That year, the team’s final national ranking was 22nd.

Schamberger Makes Grades in the Classroom
Performance on the course is always a priority for any team, but excelling in the classroom is a standard that Coastal Carolina has become accustomed to. This was never more evident than senior Theresa Schamberger making the Big South All-Academic team for the second year in a row after achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA as a health promotion major. Schamberger has been on the President’s List six semesters.

All-Conference Honors
This season, junior Shelby Donahue and freshman Janel Reeves were named to the Big South All-Conference team after their performance at the Big South Cross Country Championships.

Big South Championship
The Chanticleers finished third at the Big South Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Shady Oaks Kennel in Winston-Salem, N.C. Liberty took home the 2009 title and VMI’s Hannah Granger earned Runner of the Year honors. Junior Shelby Donahue was the top finisher for the Chants at sixth with a time of 19:06. Freshman Janel Reeves finished right behind her in seventh at 19:09.

Big South Championship History
The Coastal Carolina women’s cross country team has a long history of winning at the Big South Cross Country Championship. The Chants have won 12 Big South Cross Country Team Championships with the most recent in 2008. From 2001-2005, head coach Alan Connie has coached the cross country team to five consecutive Big South Cross Country Team Championships. In addition to team championships, the program has had 14 Big South Cross Country Runners of the Year and 79 All-Big South Cross Country honors.

Blue Ridge Open
The Chanticleers finished ninth in the Blue Ridge Open 5k, running without three of their top seven runners. Coastal finished ahead of Clemson, College of Charleston and UNC Asheville. Junior Shelby Donahue was the top Chant, finishing 30th at 19:43.88, just ahead of teammate freshman Janel Reeves in 31st at 19:04.66.

Paul Short Run
Coastal Carolina finished 37th in the 6k Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pa., on Friday, Oct. 2, running without two of the team’s top runners. The race was hosted by Lehigh University and featured more than 4,000 runners, competing from more than 300 high schools and colleges around the country. Freshman Janel Reeves was the top finisher for the Chanticleers, placing 84th out of 362 participants with a time of 21:49.

Home Sweet Home
The Chanticleers won the Coastal Carolina Invitational on Sept. 18. Shelby Donahue captured the individual title for the women with a time of 18:48.55. Maranie Staab made her 2009 debut, finishing second with a time of 19:02.76. The Chanticleers took the four through seven spots and captured eight of the top 10 finishes.

They’re Off and Running
The Chanticleers opened their 2009 season on Sept. 4, finishing third at the Gamecock Open hosted by the University of South Carolina. Shelby Donahue took the top spot for the Chants and third overall with a time of 18:12.49.

Familiar Faces
Coastal Carolina welcomed back its trio of seniors in Peggy Busbee, Theresa Schamberger and Kathryn Zenowitz. Juniors Joyce Curtin, Shelby Donahue and Maranie Staab all returned and sophomores Christian Johnson and Rindi Wood round out the squad.

Three Freshman Look to Make Impact
The Chanticleers roster will include three freshman this year with Jessica Dennison, Emma Hulburd, and Janel Reeves. Reeves was the 2008 Virginia Class AA State Cross Country Champion and Hulburd was named to the 2008 Vermont Division II All-State Cross Country team. Dennison joins them with Indiana All-District Cross Country honors.

On the Schedule
The Chanticleers have a tough schedule ahead. The squad has four 5k races and three 6k races on the 2009 schedule. Coastal Carolina will run 5ks in the season’s first two meets and then again at the Blue Ridge Open and Big South Championships. The Paul Short Run, NCAA Southeast Regional and NCAA Championship are all 6k races.

Chants First in Preseason Poll
After winning the Big South Championship last season, Coastal Carolina garnered 95 points and six first place coaches’ votes to place first in the annual Big South Conference Preseason Poll.

Chants Return Two All-Big South Performers
Junior Maranie Staab and sophomore Christian Johnson return after earning all-conference honors a season ago. At the Big South Championships, Staab finished fourth with a time of 18:46, while Johnson was named Big South Freshman of the Year.

Looking Ahead
If the Chants finish in the top four as a team at the Southeast Regionals, then they would go on to participate at the NCAA National Championship as a team in Terre Haute, Ind. If Coastal Carolina does not finish in the top four as a team, but a Chant is one of the top four individuals not on a qualified team, that Chant would qualify as an individual to go to the NCAA National Championship.