Cross Country Travels To NCAA Pre-Nationals This Weekend

UABSPORTS.COM Junior Jakub Trzasalski
Junior Jakub Trzasalski

Oct. 11, 2012

Meet Central

The East Carolina men's and women's cross country teams are on the road this weekend at the 2012 NCAA Pre-Nationals on Saturday, Oct. 13, at E.P. `Tom' Sawyer State Park hosted by the University of Louisville. The day's competition kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with the men's Red race. The women's Red race follows at 10:15 a.m. The men's Black race is up next at 10:45 a.m. with the women's Black race finishing the day of action at 11:30 a.m.

"I'm hoping for a solid outing by both teams," said head cross country coach Dan Lee. "Our number one priority is getting a good look at the course so we can be better prepared to the Southeast Regional Championships, which also run on the same course, in November.  A bug went through the team two weeks ago and we really suffered through a rough meet at Charlotte due to that.  About half of our team was out of practice last week.  We've been working hard to recover and get healthy.  Hopefully the group racing is in good form."

The ECU women, who enter this weekend ranked No. 14 in the Southeast Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA), are scheduled to compete in the women's Red race with 38 other institutions. The competitive field includes 36 regionally ranked schools and seven schools that are among the top-25 nationally including the top ranked school in the country in Florida State.

The women's program finished sixth at the Charlotte Invitational last time out on Sept. 28. Junior Bjork Olsen ran a personal-best 21:38.62 in the 6k event to place seventh of 233 runners. The meet was her second straight race where she finished as ECU top runner after winning the Pirate Invitational on Sept. 21. Olsen was joined by three other teammates that all placed in the top 60 in the race in personal-best times in junior Chelsea Hollingsworth (15th/22:13.35), freshman Shewit Weldense (36th/22:40.10) and redshirt junior Stacey Gonzalez (57th/23:04.58). Redshirt sophomore Stefanie Fresenius was not far behind the initial ECU group of four and placed 64th with a 23:10.00.

The seven women that are competing for ECU this weekend are Olsen, Gonzalez, Hollingsworth, Fresenius, Weldense, freshman Jessica Rossabi and redshirt sophomore Olivia Slate.

The ECU men are slated to compete on Saturday starting at 10:45 a.m. The programs the men are competing with include teams from 62 other schools. Of the 62 schools, 40 earned regional or national rankings in the latest poll.



At the Charlotte Invitational, the men's team was paced by redshirt sophomore Chase Miller in 52nd place (255:53.29) in the 8k gold race. The Pirates also had an additional pair of top 100 finishes in junior Jakub Trzasalski (76th/26:16.56) and redshirt freshman Brather Cline (100th/26:41.95). Redshirt junior Cory Hampshire, sophomore Tevin Richardson and freshman John Young rounded out the competitors in the initial men's grouping for ECU in 115th (27:01.89), 124th (27:10.37) and 137th (27:29.60) place, respectively.

The men's team is also sending seven competitors to the Pre-National meet. The seven include Miller, Hampshire, Cline, Richardson, Trzasalski, Young and senior Antonio Palmer,

After this weekend's meet both programs next compete at the Conference USA Championships on Oct. 29 in Hattiesburg, Miss.