Curcio acknowledged immediately that the Patriot League is very strong for distance running but was clear that the goal remains to improve upon the admittedly poor performance from 2012.
“We need to do better than the year before,” Curcio said. “The ladies are better, deeper.”
Loyola Maryland and defending champion Navy are the favorites to win the championship but according to Curcio, little separates the rest of the teams and spots 3—8 are up for grabs.
To achieve success, it must start with number-one runner Rose Willey ‘14. Willey finished ninth overall last year and achieved All-Patriot League Second Team honors.
“The team is coming together and improving well and if everyone is mentally ready, I believe we can accomplish big things,” Willey said.
Curcio hopes Willey will achieve first team honors and perhaps even push to finish first overall.
Sophomore Steph Benko has impressed this season and has provided Curcio with enough reason to believe she could finish in the top ten. Freshman Alexa Deemer is also expected to place high after winning the Patriot League Freshman of the Week award following the Lafayette-Lehigh dual meet.
Similar talking points were raised in discussion about the men’s team, which Curcio classified as “extremely young” and “full of potential.”
Lafayette has finished last in two of the past three years, placing seventh in 2011. Archrival Lehigh won last year.
With those finishes in mind, Curcio hopes to see her team move up the pecking order in the league. To do that, it must feature a good race from number one runner Thomas Day ‘16, who has vastly improved from his freshman year and is developing into a “good leader.”
“Now is the time to be showing the improvements we’ve made and the confidence we’ve built, and even as a young team I know that we are headed into Patriot Leagues excited about the opportunity to compete,” Day said.
Curcio hopes Day can finish in the top 25.
Captain Andrew Warshauer ‘15 is expected to race well as Curcio said “he just keeps getting better” and that she believes he could make substantial progress tomorrow.