ETSU men's and women's cross country to open 2006 season Sunday

Friday, September 08, 2006

 

 

2006 Men's Cross Country Preview

 

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 8, 2006)  After coming off four top-three team finishes in 2005, including a second place finish at the A-Sun Cross Country Championships, the Bucs are looking to make some noise behind solid front runners Michael Deren (Blasdell, N.Y.) and Kenneth Rotich (Sotik, Kenya). Head coach David E. Walker is also going to keep focus on his upperclassman, Josh Hicks (Riceville, Tenn.), Jeff Crane (Taylors, S.C.) and Jordan Ladd (Lyn, Ontario) to provide strong performances in 2006.

 

The top two runners will include sophomore standout, Michael Deren and freshman phenom Kenneth Rotich. "While spending the summer training and practicing for the upcoming season, Deren and Rotich reported to practice in solid shape," said Walker. Last season Deren ran in three events and finished a season-best ninth in his collegiate debut at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

 

Hicks and Crane were named to the all-conference team as well as Crane receiving all-freshman team nods, after their top 10 finishes at the 2005 A-Sun Cross Country Championships. Hicks, the lone senior on this young team, which features a junior, five sophomores and a freshman will provide a lot of the leadership. He competed in all six events last season and had three top-10 finishes, including a season-best fifth at the Greensboro Invitational. "Hicks will give us good runs and is in good shape," added Walker.

 

Another Buc that brings a lot of experience to the table is junior, Jordan Ladd. During the 2005 campaign, Ladd competed in five events and was the first ETSU runner to cross the finish line at the NCAA South Regional. He posted a season-best third place finish at the Greensboro Invitational, as well as being the first Buc to cross the line at the Furman Invitational. Local connection J Penny (Telford, Tenn.) was redshirted last season, but is expected to provide some strength to this year's squad.

 

"We have the makings of a good cross country team," Walker said. "Cross country talent lies in both Crane and Ladd, and with the one-two punch of Deren and Rotich, they should get us back to where we belong."

 

The Bucs will know where they stand early in the season as they open up the 2006 campaign competing in the Western Carolina Open on September 15 and the William and Mary Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge on September 30. According to the 2006 Preseason Cross Country Coaches Poll, ETSU is picked to finished second in the conference, behind Belmont. "The talent is there but time will tell if we can put it all together," said Walker.

 

 

2006 A-Sun Men's Cross Country Preseason Coaches Poll

Rank

Team

Points

1

Belmont (10)

100

2

ETSU

86

3

Kennesaw State

77

4

Campbell

68

5

Gardner-Webb

60

6

UNF

52

7

Lipscomb

39

8

Mercer

34

9

Stetson

20

10

Jacksonville

14

 

2006 Women's Cross Country Preview

 

The 2006 women's cross country team will feature a young class of four sophomores and four freshmen.  Top returnee, Heather Adkins (Kansas City, Mo.), is coming off a superb freshman season where she was named to the all-conference freshman team and finished a season-best 10th in her collegiate debut at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

 

Two newcomers expected to make an immediate impact include Vicki Currie (Dumfries, Scotland) and Valerie Boothby (Glen Gardner, N.J.).  "These two freshmen may very well lead us and will give us added depth up front," said coach Michelle Byrne.

 

Currie and Boothby are both coming off very successful senior seasons for their high school's. Currie, who made the journey across the Atlantic from Dumfries, Scotland, is a talented middle distance runner. A welcome addition to the ETSU cross country team, Currie finished third at the Scottish U-17 Cross Country Nationals in 2004.  She also won the Cambrian Schools Championship in 2004, and has competed for West of Scotland at the Celtic International Cross Country Championships. Boothby helped her women's cross country team win the Skyland Conference Championship and was the state sectional champion in the 800-meters for track and field. She was a three-year letterwinner in spring track and field, two-year in winter track and field and once in cross country. She also lettered twice in fencing and once in soccer.

 

The other newcomers joining the team are Anna Scalf (Piney Flats, Tenn.) and Christin Zink (Herndon, Va.). Both athletes were letterwinners in cross country or track and are looking forward to provide a spark for the rest of the runners.

 

Returning with Adkins from last year's team include Sara Atkinson (Odenton, Md.), Ali Carney (Sevierville, Tenn.) and Allie Frazier (Knoxville, Tenn.). Adkins provides the most experience having run in six meets, while Frazier and Carney both ran in five competitions. Frazier had a season's best race at the Mountaineer Open with her 21st place finish and Carney ran a season-best at the Appalachian Open finishing 19th.

 

"Our young team is led by sophomores and they are complemented by our freshman class," said Byrne. "This will bring a lot of youth and enthusiasm to each meet. As the season unfolds, strong leadership will need to emerge from the sophomore class in order for us to excel by the time the A-Sun Cross Country Championships are contested in late October. After last season's struggle with illness that struck our team at the A-Sun Cross Country Championships, I hope to have a top five finish in 2006."

 

Coach Byrne will be sending some of her runners to compete in the Irish Brigade Commemorative 5K which will be held in nearby Elizabethton, on September 10. The rest of the team will open the season when they compete in the Western Carolina Open, on September 15. The Bucs were picked to finish fifth in the A-Sun Preseason Coaches Poll.

 

 

2006 A-Sun Women's Cross Country Preseason Coaches Poll

Rank

Team

Points

1

Belmont (5)

94

2

Kennesaw State (3)

84

3

UNF (2)

82

4

Campbell

63

5

ETSU

55

6

Lipscomb

48

7t

Jacksonville

38

7t

Mercer

38

9

Gardner-Webb

33

10

Stetson

15

 

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