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Published: Saturday, 8/28/2004

Sidelines: Pasta, desire fuel Bowling Green girls cross country team

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

You wouldn t know it when you look at the Bowling Green girls cross

country team, but frequent pasta parties were a key element to the team capturing last year s Division I state championship.

Bobcats coach Brian Tucker said the average team height is about 5-5 and average weight is about 110.

A couple of the kids aren t even 100 pounds, he said. People look at our team and think we are a junior high team.

The Bobcats appear to be in good position to defend their state title.

All five runners that finished in the top 17 at the state meet are back.

The Bobcats 52-point total was the lowest team total since 1992.

The cross country title is the school s only state crown other than

hockey (six state titles).

According to No. 1 runner Christy Titus, a key to the success were bonds that were formed at the dinner table.

A lot of times after practice we go to each others houses and we eat a lot, said Titus, a sophomore who finished ninth overall at state last year.

We have pasta parties before meets and have team get-togethers. We just hang out together and have a good time.

Tucker said this year his team has grown stronger but not bigger.

It is not unheard of for a freshman to be great and then lose a little bit due to their physical development, said Tucker. His top seven the top five count in a meet include two juniors, three sophomores and a freshman.

They have helped the Bobcats win 25 straight dual meets. BG has won two Northern Lakes League titles in a row and four of the last five.

This year s team is showing no signs of slowing down.

All of the kids are ahead of their times that they had at this point last

year, he said.

In the preseason trials last year, the coach said two of the runners had times in the 20-minute range and three were in the 21-minute range for the 5,000-meter distance.

This year the top five all had times in the 19-minute range.

Titus was first, sophomore Barbara Powers took second and junior Paige Lane third. Rounding out the top seven that will represent BG this weekend at the season-opening Fremont Invitational are sophomore Alyssa Glenn, freshman Shannon Titus, senior

Kelly May and junior Andrea Pereira de Almeida.

In the state meet, Christy Titus took fifth among individuals in the

team race with a time of 18:45. She was the NLL and district champion.

Titus also set the school record with a time of 18:39.

During the season she broke her own school record five times.

Powers came on late to become the team s No. 2 runner. Powers, who has a personal best of 19:05, finished ninth in the team race at state.

Barbara is terrifically competitive, Tucker said. She will give Christy all she wants.

Glenn, was the No. 3 runner last year. She was 10th at state and ran her top time of 19:08 at the regional.

There has been no drop off in her performance, Tucker said. She s

been a minute ahead of where she was at this point last year.

The team s No. 4 runner, Lane, was 12th among the team competitors at state and finished better than any other team s second-fastest runner.

Her personal best is 18:44. May, one of the team s few seniors, took 16th at state and is running extremely well this season, Tucker said.

Junior Pereira de Almeida was the team s sixth best runner in 2003, finishing 17th at state.

Senior Kylie Korsnack, who played volleyball until her junior year, had a personal best time of 19:39 at the regional.

There are three talented freshmen.

Shannon Titus, Christy s sister, has already cracked the top seven.

It will be fun to run with her, Christy Titus said of her sister. I m

excited for her.

Tucker also credited sophomore Ann-Marie Simon and senior Stephanie Leow for giving the team depth.

Tucker said the success is directly attributed to the junior high school s strong program. He credits coach Duff Madaras for starting the program about 15 years ago.

We ve been getting these great kids from him for years, Tucker said. He makes the [high school] program what it is.

Tucker has 22 runners in the girls program. The junior high usually has about 20-30 runners, but this year has more than 50 seventh-graders.

BG has qualified for the regional nine straight times and 10 out of the

last 14 years. But it did not make it out of the regional until 2002, when it finished ninth in the state.

It seemed like we were the best of the rest for years and years, Tucker said. Getting to the regionals was no problem. Getting to the state meet is tough.

Tucker said he tries to get his team to peak at the end of the season.

The only real pressure comes at the league, district and regional meets, he said. Those are the ones that put in the time and hard work. It s not hard to motivate them.



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