Pirates Set For Conference USA Championship

UABSPORTS.COM ECU Pirate Invitational
ECU Pirate Invitational

Oct. 28, 2012

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After completing the regular season schedule, the East Carolina men's and women's cross country teams travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to participate in the 2012 Conference USA Cross Country Championship. The event, host by Southern Miss University and taking place at Pine Belt National Golf Course, is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 29.

The women's 5K race is set for a 10:00 a.m. ET start, while the men's 8K race begins at 11:00 a.m.  An awards ceremony will follow the races at noon. Admission is free.

At last year's league meet, current senior Brooke Kott earned All-C-USA Third-Team honors by finishing 15th in her time of 17:36.6. Former Pirates Brittany Copeland and Tara Wilson both also earned All-C-USA recognition in 2011 with spots on the first and third-team, respectfully. Copeland set the East Carolina record in the 5K and became the first Pirate woman to finish in under 17minutes at 16:56.7.

The women's program placed fourth of 12 squads a year ago. The finish was the best in program history and topped the fifth-place showing in 2001. The women enter the meet ranking 14th in Southeast Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCA).

The championship meet will be the second in the career of redshirt sophomore Stefanie Fresenius, who competed in her first league meet last year and finished 36th overall with a time of 18:33.8. For junior Bjork Olsen this is her third chance to lineup against the conference's best after finishing 47th last season (19:02.6) and  34th in 2010  (18:06).

The men's program, who only had two upperclassmen participate last year, placed seventh of eight teams in 2011.  Junior Jakub Trzasalski paced the squad in running a 25:40.0 in the 8K for 27th place. Senior Antonio Palmer finished a few spots behind Trzasalski in 33rd with his 26:10. Palmer is competing for the third time in his career at the 2012 C-USA Championship this weekend after finishing 39th in 2010.

The defending women's champion from last season is SMU.  SMU enters the conference championship ranked third in the South Central Region. In addition to SMU women's ranking in the South Central Region, Rice appears 11th in the same poll. Tulsa is the fourth women's program at the meet with a pre-meet ranking and are placed sixth in the Midwest Region.



The two-time defending C-USA men's champion is Tulsa. The 19th-ranked Golden Hurricane also won the league title in 2008 and have not finished lower than third since joining the league in 2005. Tulsa is the lone C-USA men's team currently ranked in the Top 30 poll. The Golden Hurricane are also the highest ranked regional team at No. 3 in the Midwest Region, followed by Rice and UTEP at No. 6 in the South Central and Mountain Regions, respectively. Memphis appears at No. 9 in the South.

The top-21 finishers earn all-conference honors as the first through seventh are placed on the first team, eight through 14 are second teamers and the third team is comprised of the 15-21 finishers.

Official meet results and photo galleries will be available on the league's website at C-USA Championship Central.

Complete coverage of the event will also be available on the C-USA Digital Network.