The women's cross country team hopes to rebound this fall after losing four of its top seven runners from last season.

Last year, Bowdoin was second in the state meet and placed seventh out of 51 teams at the regional meet.

In the preseason national women's coaches poll, Bowdoin was the 40th-ranked D-III college.

"We should have good depth in the lineup, but we'll have to develop some front-runners," said Head Coach Peter Slovenski, a 26-year veteran.

Senior captain Anna Ackerman and junior Olivia MacKenzie look to fill that void this season.

Both are strong contenders for the 2011 All-New England team, which is comprised of the top 35 finishers in the region.

Ackerman and Mackenzie finished 43rd and 55th, respectively at the 2010 regional championship.

Key runners lost from last year's roster include Christina Argueta '11 and Grace Kerr '11, two All-New England runners who graduated last spring.

Carolyn Baskir, another All-New England performer last year, transferred to Duke University after her first year.

In the NCAA D-III cross country meet a year ago, she was the first runner her grade to finish, with a time of 21:40.3.

Bowdoin has six first years on its varsity roster this season.

Maggie Bryan '15 "has made an especially good transition from high school to college running," said Slovenski.

Another key addition is Chantal Croteau '12, who missed the 2010 season when she was studying abroad.

"We're lucky that Chantal is back in the lineup," said Slovenski. "We're really pleased to have her back in the top five or top seven."

Slovenski acknowledges the difficulty of competing in the NESCAC, in which there are few weak teams.

"This is a really powerful cross country conference," he said, "and finishing in the top half—top five or six—would be a very good season for us."

Ackerman said that the team's training would center on the types of courses that they will encounter this fall.

"Our focus this year needs to be on quick turnover to account for the flat courses on our horizon," Ackerman said.

"We've got a lot of potential, and it looks like Olivia is ready to lead the pack," she added.

Bowdoin is hosting three meets this fall, including the first of the year tomorrow.

The other two meets will be held on October 1 and November 12, the latter of which is the New England D-III Championship.

Ackerman recalled that in her three-year career Bowdoin has hosted only two meets.

"It's rare for us to race on our home course, so we're hoping to have lots of Bowdoin fans cheering us on," she said.