CHICAGO – With the 2013 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships set to kick off next Thursday, the Saint Xavier University women's track team is excited about its prospects heading into the event. The Cougars have four individual national qualifiers and its distance medley relay (DMR) team set to compete at the national meet, and with the national seedings for each event being released Friday, SXU women's track coach Lisa Ebel feels confident that her runners are ready to represent Saint Xavier University well on the national stage. Senior Rachael Dean (Lindenhurst, Ill./Judson University/Lakes) is seeded fifth in the mile run (5:06.07) for the Cougars, while senior Ashley Shares (Palos Park, Ill./Moraine Valley CC/Stagg) takes the No. 7 seed into the 5,000 meter run (17:57.80). Senior Jackie Ott (Island Lake, Ill./Marian Central Catholic) is seeded No. 9 in the 1,000 meter run (3:01.75) and senior Mercedes Mancha (Elgin, Ill./Streamwood) brings the No. 13 seed into the 3,000 meter race-walk (16:50.31).
"I don't know if I have ever been more excited heading into a national meet," said Ebel. "This is definitely one of the most talented groups that we have ever sent to Nationals and with the top eight finishers in each event earning All-American honors, I think we have a very good chance of having multiple All-Americans. No matter what happens, I'm so proud of this team for all the hard work and effort they have put in throughout the season."
The 2013 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships is held from Thursday, February 28, to Saturday, March 2, at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Last season, the Cougars had two runners (Dean and Mancha) earn All-American honors at the 2012 NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships.