Wolfpack seeks automatic bids to NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky.
Samantha George named ACC's Freshman of the Year as both squads place three runners in top 14, giving NC State six combined All-ACC selections.
Men seek repeat, third crown in four years; Women aiming for first title since 2006
Several other runners will compete at Blue Ridge Open in Boone, N.C.
Women's team falls one point short of a top three finish
After 15 years as a member of Rollie Geiger's staff, Laurie Henes became NC State's women's head cross country coach in the fall of 2006. A former national champion in track and field and an All-American in cross country at NC State, Henes is the third head coach in the history of the Wolfpack's women's cross country program.
In many ways, Henes's promotion to head coach was a formality. She was heavily involved with the women's program from the time she joined the coaching staff in 1992, and took a more prominent role with the women's team in subsequent years. Geiger stepped back from coaching the women's program following the 2005 season and made Henes the unofficial but de facto head coach.
Official or not, Henes coached one of the best women's cross country teams in the nation in 2006, guiding the Wolfpack women to their 20th conference championship in 29 years. Four runners from that team - Julia Lucas, Bona Jones, Brittany Tinsley and Angelina Blackmon - earned All-ACC honors as the Wolfpack won the conference championship. Lucas won the individual conference championship, the program's 10th, and Jones was named ACC Rookie of the Year.
The Pack won the NCAA Southeast Regional championshp two weeks later, and Lucas and Jones went on to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. Following all of that, Henes was an obvious choice for Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, which she won in a vote of the league's head coaches.
A year later, with Lucas graduated, Henes guided the Wolfpack to a second-place finish in the ACC. Tinsley and Blackmon repeated as All-ACC, and freshman Colleen Wetherbee was ACC Rookie of the Year. The Wolfpack went on to repeat as NCAA Southeast Regional champions, and Blackmon, Tinsley, Jones and Wetherbee all earned all-regional honors.
In 2008, sophomore Emily Pritt earned All-ACC and All-NCAA Regional honors before becoming Henes's third All-American in her four years as head coach.
A year ago, freshman Laura Hoer burst onto the scene in a big way, becoming just the sixth NC State runner, men's or women's team, to win at least four races in a season, and only the second freshman. She began the season with a 29-second victory in a course-record time at the Wolfpack Invitational, won the Roy Griak Invitational, and later in the year swept the individual championships at the ACC Championships and the NCAA Southeast Regionals. She was ACC Rookie of the Year, and the NCAA Southeast Regional Athlete of the Year. Hoer capped the season by finishing 21st at the NCAA Championships to become Henes's fourth All-American in five years as head coach. Junior Andie Cozzarelli earned All-ACC and All-NCAA Southeast Regional honors, and finished just 7.9 seconds off the pace to earn All-America at the NCAA meet.
In addition to winning on the course, Henes has maintained the tremendous academic tradition that Geiger established decades ago with the cross country program.
The NC State women earned Academic All-America honors as a team in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and earned Academic All-America honors with distinction in 2006, 2007 and 2010, meaning the team's overall GPA was 3.25 or better. Emily Pritt (2008, 2009), Brittany Tinsley (2006, 2007 and 2009) and Laura Hoer (2010) were named individual Academic All-Americans over the last four seasons.
In other words, in five years as head coach, Henes has maintained the tradition of excellence established by the program over the previous three decades. And Henes has been a big part of that tradition, both as a student-athlete and as a member of the coaching staff. As a student-athlete at NC State from 1988-92, Henes earned All-America honors in cross country as a junior and senior, and was All-ACC four straight years. She won the ACC women's cross country championship as a senior, finished fourth at the NCAA Championships, and was a finalist for the Honda Sports Award for cross country.
On the track, Henes won the NCAA's 5000-meter national championship at the 1991 outdoor championships. She set school and conference records while winning the indoor 5000 meters at the ACC Championships in 1991, and finished third at the NCAA indoor meet.
As an NC State graduate student, Henes's fifth-place finish at the USATF Nationals earned her a spot on the United States track-and-field team in the 10,000 meters for the 1993 World University Games. She finished the season with a No. 6 national ranking in the 10k. During the summer of 1995, she was a member of the USA National team that competed in the World Championships in Gothenberg, Sweden, and had best times of 15:31.40 in the 5000 and 32:05.20 in the 10,000. In 1996, she was a finalist at the U.S. Olympic Trials at 10,000 meters.
In addition to her outstanding athletic achievements, Henes excelled academically, earning the ACC's Marie James Scholarship and an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. She won the H.C. Kennett Award as NC State's outstanding female athlete for the 1990-91 and 1991-92 school years.
Henes joined Geiger's coaching staff in 1992 as a graduate assistant and became a full-time assistant coach two years later. She was promoted to associate head coach in 1998. In her 15 years as an assistant coach, the women's program flourished, winning nine conference championships and capturing three top 10 national finishes, including a second-place finish in 2001. NC State women earned All-America honors 10 times and brought home the individual ACC championship twice.
Laurie is married to Bob Henes, a former Wolfpack All-American in cross country and track. They have two daughters, Elly, 13, and Jordan, 9.