BU fall sports teams have high hopes
Women's cross country Heart of America Athletic Conference and Region V Coach of the Year Rob Mallinder will return four of his top five runners from last year's conference championship team, including All-American senior Liesel Kirk. Also returning from last year's varsity is senior Jan Meyer and juniors Molly Humphries and Jenny Schultz.
Junior Kristi Anspaugh was a top five runner as a freshman, but missed the entire 2000 cross country season because of injuries. Mallinder expects her back to full strength by mid-season. In his first recruiting class, Mallinder increased the size of the women's squad by replacing two seniors with four freshman. Senior Emily Nelson will also return to the squad after spending last fall at Harlaxton College in England, adding depth and experience to the team.
Men's cross country Baker lost four varsity runners from last year's squad that finished fifth at conference. Leading the rebuilding is junior Mike Donnelly, with the fastest returning 8-kilometer time
on the team. Donnelly missed the 2001 track season because of injuries, but is expected to be back at full strength for the fall.
Sophomores Jimmy Gillispie and Matt Hallauer will also have important roles. Gillispie showed a lot of consistency last season and was all-conference in the 10,000-meter run during track season. Hallauer battled injuries for most of last cross country season, but
had a strong track season where he made all-conference in the 4x800 and just missed all-conference in the 1,500-meter run. Mallinder expects two junior college transfers from last season, Brad Fink and Jon Sanfilippo, to add depth and experience to the top
Mens soccer Fifth-year head coach Ron Pulvers won his third conference championship last season and returns all four of his first-team all-conference picks. Leading the squad will be junior back Kelly
Wolverton, who was named captain and conference Defensive Player of the year last season. The defense also returns second-team all-conference pick Derek England. The offense returns senior forward Erik Jones, the teams leading scorer and an All-Region V selection, junior forward Joe McArdle, and junior midfielder Blake Reynolds.
The Cats were 9-0 against conference foes last season until falling to Lindenwood University in the conference championship. The two teams are expected to fight over the conference championship again, with neither team losing a lot of seniors. Baker is losing just two seniors from the varsity squad. They will open the season on Sept. 1 in Alabama against the University of Mobile.
Women's soccer Expectations are high for the Wildcats, which coach Brandon Barkus said can be one of the best women's soccer teams Baker has ever had. Baker will need to replace only two seniors from last year's squad, and none on offense where they return two second-team all-conference selections. Senior midfielder Kathy Sobba, who led the team in scoring and assists last season, and junior forward Jen Weigel will lead the squad.
Also returning are seniors Bobbi Timmons, who tied with Sobba for leading scorer, and Melanie Benson, a top passer. Baker will need to replace team captain LaShon English, named second-team all-conference as a back, and goalkeeper Lindsey Bodine. The experienced team will have eight seniors on the roster. Barkus
Volleyball The unexpected loss of six-footers Kathy Kern and Jen Markovich after just two years will be hard to replace, but a strong group of freshman, the return of senior powerhitter Renee Sudduth and no graduation losses are in the Cats favor.
Baker returns senior Emilee Hoffner, who has been named first-team all-conference setter the past two seasons. Also returning are second-team all-conference outside hitters Jackie Sommer and Sarah Osterhaus. Senior Kenda Williams is the team's only returning
middle hitter from last season, but Sudduth will also play middle hitter.