For the past three years the Cyclone women’s cross country team has dominated the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. They have their sights set on a fourth crown as long as everyone stays healthy.

The Cyclones face the challenge of running their best with the loss of some of their top runners from last season. But the 2017 team has some arsenals to make an impact. Sophomore Fabiola Castillo (Argo) is back this year to lead the way. She’ll have help from returners Theresa Orr (Argo) and Caitlin Griffin (Richards) along with freshman Calista Stefaniak (Kennedy). The mighty group of seven needs to avoid injury because they lack the same depth as the men’s team which has 14 runners. But they are confident in their abilities this season.

“The women know it’s a challenge, but they believe they can win conference, which is important. This is a determined group,” said Coach Dimitri Dimizas, who’s leading the Cyclones for a second year.

In pre-season practices, the women’s and men’s teams have already bonded while having a few elements added to build strength mentally and physically. Dimizas has introduced more drills after practice runs when they’re fatigued to work on proper form. He also added a longer run on Sunday that will continue throughout the racing season. Collectively, he’s hoping that adds up to another successful year.