Friday, September 13, 2013
Buccaneers start campaign with high expectations
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 2013) – The ETSU men’s and women’s cross country teams will kickoff the 2013 campaign at the Commodore Classic on Saturday morning, Sept. 14, at Percy Warner Park in Nashville.
Over 300 runners will be competing in each of the men’s and women’s races. Both races will feature 31 teams, including schools from throughout the southeast such as Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Lipscomb, Belmont, Cumberland, Lee, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and Trevecca Nazarene. The men will be competing in an 8K race beginning at 10 a.m. followed by the women in a 5K starting at 11 a.m.
“The teams are excited about their first competition and the opportunity to run on the conference course,” said ETSU Director of Track & Field/Cross Country George Watts. “One of our main goals in this meet is to familiarize ourselves with the course as we look towards the Atlantic Sun Championships there in November.”
Expectations for this season for both teams are certainly high with each being picked to finish within the top-five in the league.
Selected in the preseason by the A-Sun coaches to take the conference crown, the ETSU men return vital cogs from a team that finished second in 2012. Most recently, the men were also voted first in the initial A-Sun Men's Cross Country Coaches Poll of the season released earlier this week.
Highlighted among the men is Filip Jalovy (Modrice, Czech Republic) who was also voted by the league’s coaches as the Men’s Preseason Runner of the Year. Jalovy earned first-team all-conference honors last season with a third-place and personal-best time of 24:48.2 at the 2012 A-Sun Championships and was joined on the all-league teams by returnee Adam Chase (Kingsport, Tenn.) who garnered second-team accolades.
During the preseason, the ETSU women were picked to stand fourth in the conference after finishing fifth overall in the league last season. In the first A-Sun Women's Cross Country Coaches Poll of the season released earlier this week, the Buccaneers gained a spot with a third-place ranking behind Lipscomb and North Florida.
Returning four of its top-five runners, the squad will be led by veterans Chelsea Clark (Fairmont, W. Va.) and Jessica Palmer (Oak Ridge, Tenn.), but will lean heavily on the progression of sophomore Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) who took home A-Sun Women’s Freshman of the Year honors last season. Hirko also enjoyed first-team all-conference recognition after running a personal-best 17:36.8 at the league championships in 2012.
“The kids came back to school fitter than last year and I'm very pleased with the early-season workout results,” said Watts. “They have a great attitude and high expectations.”
“There will be a normal amount of first-race nervousness and uncertainty, but I feel confident both teams will compete well and come away with some positive results.”
Stay tuned to ETSUBucs.com on Saturday afternoon for a recap and results from the Commodore Classic.
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