East Carolina competed at Pre-Nationals over the weekend
Oct. 13, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina men's and women's cross country teams ran strong despite facing strong competition at the 2012 NCAA Pre-Nationals on Saturday, Oct. 13, at E.P. `Tom' Sawyer State Park in a race hosted by the University of Louisville. Junior Bjork Olsen had a strong individual race for the women in running a career and season-best time in the 6k Red race. Fellow junior Jakub Trzasalski led the men in a season-best time in the 8k Black race.
"We made some great strides with the program this weekend with the top four women setting personal bests," head cross country coach Dan Lee explained. "Today's top five women only had only one holdover from the 2011 squad (Stefanie Fresenius), which was arguably the best cross country team in school history. This squad is closing in on that group. Bjork Olsen led the team with the third fastest time in school history. Bjork is racing like I always knew she could. She never raced cross country in high school and was a little more track oriented. Chelsea Hollingsworth set a new personal best to tie for the 12th best time in school history. Every race I see her make strides. Olivia Slate had a massive PR dropping 50 seconds off of her previous best and is still learning the sport. I never gave up on her and she's proven me right. She's going to be all conference before she graduates. Stefanie ran great coming off of sickness from two weeks ago. She's still less than 100% and she recorded a personal-best. I expect great things from her as she gets back to the top of her game. The men's team is still a work in progress. The wear and tear from sickness has hit the men's team much harder than the women's. After developing so well for the first month it's frustrating to see the guys struggle, but they're holding their heads high and working through it. The attitude is as good as I could hope for all things considered. You can't control illness but you can control attitude. They're doing that and that's all I can ask for, to do the best they can with what they can control."
The ECU women, who entered this weekend ranked No. 14 in the Southeast Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA), placed 35th overall in the seeded race. Olsen's time of 21:21.8 led the squad and placed her 74th in the race. Her time was both a season and career-best in the event and was just below the top two times ever in a 6k event behind Brittany Copeland. Fellow junior Chelsea Hollingsworth recorded a season and career-best 22:07.9 in finishing 166th. Her time also ranks her tied for 12th in the all-time ECU record book. Redshirt sophomore Olivia Slate ran a 22:26.8 to place 191st. Redshirt sophomore Stefanie Fresenius finished in 192nd with a 22:27.8. Freshmen Shewit Weldense and Jessica Rossabi earned 238th (23:10.2) and 253rd (22:46.6) place, respectfully. Junior Kaylee Bythell placed 260th with her time of 24:16.8.
The ECU men, who finished 23rd in the Black race, were led by Trzasalski's season-best 25:53.8 in the 8k race as he placed 124th. Redshirt junior Cory Hampshire was able to top his season-best with a 25:58.7 to finished 130th. Redshirt sophomore Chase Miller was ECU's next placer in 182nd with his 26:33.1. Senior Antonio Palmer led the next wave of three for ECU in 225th place in his season-best time of 27:07.7. Redshirt freshman Brather Cline took 237th (27:19.1) and sophomore Tevin Richardson placed 245th (27:37.6) to round out the Pirates' competitors on the afternoon.
Next each program competes at the Conference USA Championships on Oct. 29 in Hattiesburg, Miss.