First year Head coach Michael Melchert has just four runners on the team, three sophomores and a freshmen. Returning sophomores include Karima Koko originally from Egypt and now living in Des Moines, Cindy Liera of LeGrand and Ashley Weringa of Algona. The lone freshman on the squad is Wendy Liera, sister of Cindy Liera.
"These women have done a tremendous job focusing on improving each day and controlling what they can control," DMACC Women's Cross Country Coach Melchert said. "They will be the foundation of what is to come for the DMACC cross country team."
Melchert said Cindy Liera is one of the returning sophomores for the Bears.
"Cindy is a veteran and it really helps to have her around," Melchert said. I'm looking for Cindy to make big strides this season. She's looking strong and getting better every day. She ran 22:13 for 5K last season."
Another veteran on the squad is Karima Koko who has run 23:28 for 5K last season.
"Karima put in her best workout I have seen her have last week," Melchert said. "She has great speed that is shown in workouts and will help her finish races."
The third returner from last year is Ashley Weringa, who ran 24:09 for 5K last season.
"Ashley is one of the nicest athletes that I have ever been around," Melchert said. "She loves to work hard and doesn't want to let her team down."
The lone freshman on the team is Wendy Liera.
"Wendy is an incoming freshman who has been working out great," Melchert said. "Look for big results from Wendy this season."
Melchert was recently hired as the new DMACC men's and women's cross country head coach. The former University of Iowa track and field and cross country athlete was a Big Ten track and field champion, a Big Ten Academic All-Conference performer, and a finalist for the University of Iowa Male Athlete of the Year.
"These athletes have made the transition easy on me," Melchert said. "I owe them a lot for handling the transition well and training to compete."
Following the Grand View Viking Invitational, the DMACC women's cross country team will run in the Spartan Invitational in Creston on Friday, September 25.