Cross country gears up for conference meet Saturday

Friday, November 01, 2013

ETSU looks repeat last season’s successes at the Atlantic Sun Championship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 1, 2013) – After four regular season meets this season, the year-long training comes to a head Saturday as the ETSU men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in the 2013 Atlantic Sun Championship at Vaughn's Gap Course at Percy Warner Park.

The men will kick action off in an 8K on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., followed by the women launching in a 5K at 10 a.m.

“We look forward to this weekend’s competition,” said ETSU Director of Track & Field/Cross Country George Watts. “Both teams will need to execute their individual race plans.”

Following a week off from competition last week, both squads look to build upon the progress they have made this season to get to this point. In addition, the two teams will look to duplicate, and/or improve upon, the success they experienced last season at the A-Sun Championship where the men took second overall while the women earned fifth overall.

“Our women’s team is much improved and can place higher than last year,” said Watts. “Also, the men’s team can battle for the top spot in a race that could come down to the last 800 meters.”

The prospects for the men’s team are bright heading into competition on Saturday. Placing among the top-10 in each of the four races this season, as well as placing in the top-five in three of the four, the men look to carry this momentum with them to Nashville.

Though a little banged up on the injury front, the Buccaneers still sport a strong top-five and are led by junior Filip Jalovy (Modrice, Czech Republic) who has been ETSU’s top finisher the past two races. The native Czech aims to repeat his performance at the Championship of last season where he ran a career-best 24:48.2 which was good for third-place overall and first-team all-conference honors.

As has been the case throughout the season, the women will lean on its veterans to guide them at the Championship. The one-two punch of sophomore sensation Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) and senior Chelsea Clark (Fairmont, W.Va.) has been a staple throughout the year and will be depended on to produce in Nashville.

Capturing the headlines for the women’s squad will be Hirko who has been outstanding in 2013. In each of the four races this year, the Pennsylvania native has been the Bucs’ top finisher and is currently averaging a 10th-place overall finish through the four meets. Hirko will look to replicate her showing last season at the Championship where she finished fourth overall with a personal best time of 17:36.8 en route to conference Freshman Runner of the Year honors.

“Both teams are in a good frame of mind,” said Watts, “and I believe they will perform well.”

Stay tuned to ETSUBucs.com on Saturday for a recap and results from the Atlantic Sun Championship.

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