Last Updated 7/14/13

Women's Cross Country Races to 9th Place Finish at NCAA Regional Meet
Regionals marks the end of the women's cross country season.

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November 8, 2008

The Argos women’s Cross Country team finished the 2008 season with a top ten finish in the NCAA regional cross country meet in Searcy, Arkansas on Saturday morning. Freshman Bailee Hedstrom led the Argos with a 32nd place finish in a time of 24:27 for the 6k (4 miles) run. The University of Tampa was the team champion, while Harding’s Jessica Forrester was the individual winner in a time of 21:50.
The race at Searcy was run in cool temperatures, 40 degrees, with sunny skies, and a light breeze, and West Florida tallied a score of 256 to finish just ahead of West Alabama with 262. Meanwhile, the Argos out ran nine other schools in the 18 team event. Senior Shannon McDougall raced to 44th place finish in 25:07, in her final Cross Country race as an Argonaut. All of the other UWF runners were freshman.

“Our freshman have put in a solid year of training and earned some great racing experience, which will help them build for next year. They should be proud of remaining in the top 10 in the region with seven freshman in our top nine runners this season. The NCAA regional meet is also a 6k run, while all the regular season races are 5k, which is a slight adjustment and challenging for a team with mostly freshman to make that adjustment for the first time,” said Bergen.

Kelbe Beck finished 52nd in a time of 25:32, while Amber Barbaresi was 63rd place in 26:05, with Stacy Paton just behind in 26:04 for 65th place. Taryn Pomerantz finished 76th with a time of 26:51, and Meagan Ritacco was 101st in a time of 28:28. The race featured 119 runners.

The meet marked the end of the 2008 Cross Country season for UWF. The Argos were ranked between 7th and 9th place in the region throughout the season, and held true to form in the NCAA regional championship.

UWF Women Harriers Race to 16th Place in the Disney World Cross Country Classic
Argos finish third best of the Division II schools in the 48 team event.

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October 11, 2008

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Argos women's Cross Country team finished 16th out of 48 teams in the Walt Disney World Cross Country Classic, Saturday at the Wide World of Sports Complex. West Florida tallied a score of 510 to finish just behind Regional rival Nova Southeastern (494), while outscoring regional opponents, Florida Tech (576), Florida Southern (616), and Valdosta State (738). Senior Shannon McDougall led the Argos with a 79th place finish in 19:40 for the 5k run.

Freshman Bailee Hedstrom finished in 85th place with a time of 19:55, followed closely by Freshman Kelbe Beck in 87th place with a 20:03 time. Dana Mecke of Texas-San Antonio was the overall winner in a time of 17:18, as 353 runners finished the race, representing 48 schools, with 44 schools scoring in the event. Freshman Amber Barbaresi ran the race in a time of 20:51, finishing in 126th place, while Sophomore Erika Anderson was just behind in 133rd place with a time of 20:59 to round out the scoring five for UWF.

Alabama Birmingham was the team champion, followed by Windsor College (Ontario, Canada), while Tampa (ranked 8th in Division II) was the top finishing Division II school with a fourth place overall finish. Meanwhile, NAIA powerhouse Embry-Riddle finished 10th overall in the field full of top cross country teams.

Head Coach John Bergen thought it was a great race to see how UWF stacks up against opponents. "This was a race to compare vs. other runners not vs. your best time. With over 350 runners and lots of turns early in the race, it's not a course that provided our best times, however, we finished ahead of many of our regional opponents, and individually our top three runners finished ahead of some key individuals on other teams," explained Bergen.

Five other UWF Freshmen also completed the race. Stacy Paton finished 142nd, with a time of 21:16, while Taryn Pomerantz was just behind in 21:51, which was good enough for 162nd place. Robin Thompson finished 207th with a time of 22:22, with Meagan Ritacco just behind in 216th place with a time of 22:29. Stacey Karczewski finished 255th place, which put her ahead of 98 other runners, in a time of 23:29. The five freshman, not counting the top five Argos, outscored five of the 44 scoring teams themselves.

The large race is one of the largest fields in all of cross country, and the event was the final regular season race for UWF, who will travel to Birmingham, Alabama to compete in the Gulf South Conference Championships on October 24th to begin post-season competition.

Women's Cross Country Races to Second Place at Tiger Invitational
All Eight Argo runners turned in their best race time of the year.

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October 4, 2008

AUBURN, Ala. - The UWF women's Cross Country team captured 2nd Place at the Auburn University Tiger Invitational, with a team score of 85. Only Columbus State out raced the Argos with a winning score of 43. Twelve teams and 73 runners participated in the Saturday morning race at Indian Pines Golf Course in Auburn, Alabama. Freshman Bailee Hedstrom led the Argos with a 7th place finish in a time of 18:59 for the 5k course. Senior Shannon McDougall was just behind in 10th place with a race time of 19:12. The Argos outraced GSC rival and regionally ranked West Georgia by eight points, as UWF scored 86, while UWG finished third with 93 points to round out the top three teams.

UWF Head Coach John Bergen was very pleased with the race. "Not only did every one of our runners turn in their best times, but they finished ahead of other runners who had been turning in better race times previously," stated Bergen. This (Auburn) is a fast course and usually everyone turns in great times, so it is more important to check how you place vs. opponents, and we stepped it up today."

Freshman Kelbe Beck finished 13th with a time of 19:28, while Sophomore Erika Anderson finished 26th in a time of 20:04. Freshman Amber Barbaresi was just behind in 29th place, with a time of 20:11. Fellow freshman Stacy Paton came across the finish line in 36th place with a 20:25 time. The strong freshmen pack also included Taryn Pomerantz, who finished 41st in a time of 20:43, and Meagan Ritacco, who crossed the line in 50th place with a time of 21:09.

"I am very happy with the progress of the freshman this season," exclaimed Bergen. "I knew that Shannon (McDougall) would be consistently strong for us, but the freshmen are right there with her, and that is a tribute to the team putting in a great effort with the training runs. Our top five today included three freshman, Shannon (McDougall), and Sophomore Erika Anderson, and they averaged under 20 minutes, which put us in position to outscore some teams that had better collective race times prior to today."

The Argos will race again next weekend at the Disney Cross Country Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Over 40 teams will be competing in the 5k run on the Disney Sports Complex. The race will be the final tune up for West Florida in preparation for the Conference Championships on October 24th in Birmingham, Alabama.

Argo Women Capture Gulf Coast Stampede Title
UWF took five of the top 10 collegiate places to win the meet with 25 points.

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September 20, 2008

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The West Florida Women's Cross Country team raced to a convincing victory in the 2008 Gulf Coast Stampede at the Escambia County Equestrian Center on Saturday. Shannon McDougall lead the Argos with a second place finish in 19:43. Teammates Bailee Hedstrom, Kelbe Beck, Erika Anderson, and Taryn Pomerantz rounded out the scoring five with finishes in the top 10 for the collegiate runners.

While McDougall was second overall, she was the top collegiate runner and is credited with first place in the collegiate scoring. The overall winner was Mindy Thomas, running unattached, in a time of 18:02. Thomas is a former standout runner from the University of Tennessee, and she took home the first place individual trophy; however her place is thrown out for the collegiate team scoring. Thus the Argos top five placed first, second, fifth, eighth, and ninth, to score a winning total of 25 points. Mississippi College placed second with 51 points, followed by Xavier (La.) 79, Mobile 94, and Chipola College with 139.

Head Coach John Bergen was pleased with the team performance. "We ran well today, and at least four of the ladies set personal bests today. The hard work is starting to pay off, and I liked that we had a couple packs of runners, and that helps push each other to better finishes. Erika (Anderson), Taryn (Pomerantz), Amber (Barbaresi), and Stacy (Paton) ran together for much of the race, and that pulled them all up a bit. Three of them finished together from 10th to 12th place, which gave us six of the top 12 places," stated Bergen.

Bailee Hedstrom finished third overall with a time of 20:07, while Kelbe Beck was sixth in a time of 20:20. Anderson, Pomerantz, and Barbaresi finished 10th, 11th, and 12th in times of 21:00, 21:01, and 21:14. Stacy Paton was just behind in 14th place with a time of 21:17. Katherine Ragia finished 18th overall with a time of 21:51, while Robin Thompson ran to a 20th place finish in 22:04. Meagan Ritacco took 22nd place in a time of 22:55, and Stacey Karczewski captured the 28th spot in 24:21. Forty-two runners competed in the 5k run, including the Argos' Women's Basketball Coach Shannan Bergen. Bergen, running unattached finished ninth overall in a time of 20:50.

The West Florida Women's Cross Country team will compete next at the Tiger Invitational at Auburn University on October 4th. The Argos' will be tuning up for the GSC championships later in October.

UWF Women's Cross Country Places Fourth in Season Opening Meet
The Argos were the top placing Division II school in the UCF Cross Country Challenge in Orlando.

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September 6, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. - Steady performances helped the West Florida women to a fourth place showing at the Knight Attack Cross Country Challenge on the campus of Central Florida. With several runners struggling in the final portions of the race, the UWF women ran consistent races to start the season. Senior Shannon McDougall paced the Argos with an 18th place finish in 20:36 for the 5k run. McDougall was in 22nd place after one mile, and moved to 20th at the two mile and finished strong at 18th overall. South Florida won the event, with Central Florida second; meanwhile West Florida out ran regional foe Rollins College, by a 114-150 score, en route to a fourth place finish in the six team event.

Head Coach John Bergen thought the UWF women performed well against two Division I schools, and a ranked NAIA opponent. "The ladies ran hard and held their pace until the end, while a lot of other runners were fading in the final stretches. Shannon was solid and our Freshman responded real well for their first collegiate meet, against some strong teams." In fact, six Argonaut Freshman ran with Senior McDougall to get the 2008 season underway.

Freshman Kelbe Beck finished 23rd overall with a time of 21:10, while fellow freshman Amber Barbaresi (26th), Taryn Pomerantz (28th), and Stacy Paton (29th) were right behind. The trio all maintained a solid seven minute pace for the race. "Stacy, Taryn, and Amber are all where we want them right now, and they should be able to shave off a minute by the time the big meets come around," explained Bergen. "I was very impressed with Kelbe, as her hard pre-season work is paying off already."

Allie Pendergast of South Florida was the overall winner in 19:03, which is a 6:07 pace per mile. Meagan Ritacco and Robin Thompson also finished for UWF. Ritacco placed 36th in a time of 23:19, while Thompson was 41st in 23:46. Over 50 runners battled the heat, rain, and muddy conditions on the beautiful Orlando campus. West Florida will run against this next weekend at South Alabama, and then host the Gulf Coast Stampede on September 20th at the Escambia County Equestrian center.

UWF Women's Cross Country ranked 7th in the South Region to start the 2008 season
Several Freshman will be counted on to carry the load to uphold the Argos pre-season ranking.

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September 4, 2008

PENSACOLA, Fla. - With the 2008 Women's Cross Country season about to get under way, the Argos earned a top ten ranking in the South Region. With only two runners returning from the very strong 2007 team, the Argos will rely on several Freshman to maintain a high regional ranking. Only Senior Katherine Ragia (Daytona Beach) and Sophomore Erika Anderson (Sicily, Italy) have cross county experience as an Argonaut. Both are expected to be among the top seven for this season. The Argos have only one other upperclassman, and that is transfer Shannon McDougall (Eastern Illinois University). Therefore, at least four Freshman will be among the top seven for the Argos this season.

First year Head Coach John Bergen is excited to see what the women can do, as the opening race in Orlando approaches. "Our upperclassman can be solid leaders, and our Freshman have some potential, so I am ready to see how we will stack up. Shannon (McDougall) looks ready to compete very well, and Freshman Bailee Hedstrom (Ponte Verde Beach) and Amber Barbaresi (Fort Walton Beach) have the skills to compete right away," explained Bergen.

The 2008 team has nine Freshman, and three upperclassmen, and lost several top runners via graduation and transferring. However, Bergen feels the team can still compete very well. "Before he left, Coach Dobson had signed four solid incoming freshmen in Hedstrom, Barbaresi, Stacy Paton (Stuart, Fla.), and Taryn Pomerantz (Holland, Pennsylvania), and so we should be fine, depending on how quickly they step up the pace. Bailee, Amber, and Stacy have good speed, and Taryn is a strong runner, who has had to adapt to the heat in the pre-season, and she now looks ready to perform," stated Bergen.

The West Florida women finished third in the conference last year, and sixth in the regional meet. Harding and Alabama Huntsville were the top two teams in the GSC last year, and both are in the top three in the regional pre-season poll. West Florida opens this season in a meet against at least two division I opponents, and regional foe Rollins College; therefore, the Argos will find out how they stack up.

"We will need Katherine and Erika to be very healthy this year, to go along with Shannon and the freshman. If that happens, we can be competitive," explains Bergen. Ragia and Anderson battled injuries last year, and both are coming off injuries for the summer. "Even without the best training, I know we can get some solid performances from Katherine and Erika, and the Freshmen look ready to compete, so I am looking forward to finding out what we can do this year," stated Bergen.

In addition, Meagan Ritacco (Waldorf, Maryland), Robin Thompson (Panama City Beach), and Kelbe Beck (Tallahassee), were late summer additions, and could also contend for a top seven spot on the roster. Freshman Marissa Campbell (Pensacola), and Stacey Karczewski (Niceville) round out the squad for the Argos. "Our walk-ons have been showing some potential, especially Kelbe (Beck), and everyone has been working hard during the pre-season, with only minor injuries to Katherine (Ragia) and Marissa (Campbell). Overall I have seen some solid workouts from the women so far," stated Bergen.

The Argos will test themselves this Friday in Orlando against competition from Central Florida, South Florida, and Rollins College. The race begins at 4:30 pm Eastern Time on the Central Florida campus. The Argos held a time trial this past Wednesday at 4:30 pm at the Escambia County Equestrian center to prepare for racing in the heat. The Argos will be running at home on September 20th at the Equestrian center in the Gulf Coast Stampede.