CHATHAM, NJ - While Laura Walsh was forced to miss most of the 2013 cross-country season because of injury, three freshmen - Julie Hamilton, Abbie Bigham and Sarah Abbott - found themselves at the forefront of the Chatham girls team.
Walsh is back for her senior season and will lead the trio of rising sophomores in Hamilton, Bigham and Abbott. They are joined by former soccer players Alex Frenzel, Erin Tencic and Keren Hynes. Teresa Clark, a sophomore, is also out for the first time.
"Last year, most of our varsity was freshmen," Chatham coach Julie Ullmeyer said. "Julie (Hamilton), Abbie (Bigham) and Sarah (Abbott) were all freshmen last year and they were all learning to run. Right off the bat they're going to be strong runners. Having Laura (Walsh) back and running with them has been very good for the team."
Frenzel, a standout lacrosse player, ran track in the winter and Tencic, Hynes and Clark rank track in the spring for Chatham. Frenzel ran the 800 and mile indoors and Tencic clocked a 2:19 800-meter run last spring. Hynes ran the two-mile in 12:20.
"I know them all from track," Ullmeyer said. "Alex has a lot of endurance and talent, and she's a hard worker, so she's been right up with our top girls in practice. I think she'll do well. Erin will get there, but it might take a little longer for her to get used to the distance. Keren did winter and spring track."
Senior Laura Walsh talks about the expectations for the 2014 season in video below
"There is so much depth this year," Ullmeyer said. "It's so early that we don't know who is going emerge from the group."
Walsh is complemented by her senior classmates, Katie Steffens, Regyn Farnan, Katherine Schmitter, Margot Cosgrove and Julia DiSalvio. The junior class depth includes Grace Malanga and Abby Cashel, while Maggie Schneider and Margaret Harrigan are contenders among the strong sophomore class.
The season for the girls opens officially on Saturday, Sept. 6 with the Randolph Invitational.