Pirates Head to NCAA Southeast Regionals

UABSPORTS.COM Redshirt junior Cory Hampshire
Redshirt junior Cory Hampshire

Nov. 8, 2012

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.  - East Carolina's cross country programs are sending a group of nine runners to this year's NCAA Southeast Regional Championship hosted at McAlphine Park in Charlotte, N.C. on Friday. The women's race is set for noon and the men are slated to begin at 1:15 p.m.

The women are sending eight runners to the 6K race with seven expected to compete. The list of ECU competitors are junior Bjork Olsen, junior Chelsea Hollingsworth, redshirt sophomore Stefanie Fresenius, redshirt sophomore Olivia Slate, freshman Shewit Weldense, redshirt junior Stacey Gonzalez, redshirt sophomore Michelle Bailey and alternate runner junior Kaylee Bythell. The program has participated in pair of 6K races this season including one on the McAlphine Park course on Sept. 28.

"I'm looking for a solid race out of the team," head coach Dan Lee said. "Workouts have been going well and the team has been looking good. I'm hoping that Stacey Gonzalez is a step closer to the dominant runner that she was at the beginning of the season before her midseason illness. I'm very proud of how far this group has come this season. This team has really exceeded my preseason expectations."

Olsen has been the Pirates top runner in each of the last five events and became ECU's first-ever C-USA First Team All-Conference selection at the championships in placing seventh overall out of 89 competitors with her time of 17:17.8. Hollingsworth earned a third-team all-conference nod after finishing 18th at the championship in a season-best and career-best5K time of 17:48.6.  Both ECU runners also notched career-best times in a 6K event earlier this year at NCAA Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky. with Olsen checking in with a 21:21.8 and Hollingsworth finishing in a 22:07.9



Cory Hampshire will represent the men's program at the 10K meet. Hampshire was the top finisher for the Pirates at the C-USA Championships in 23rd place at 25:38.5. The time was the top finish by an ECU runner in an 8K race this season. The men's race will be the first 10K competition on the campaign for ECU.

"Cory is starting to really get into good form," Lee explained. "He is looking like the runner that I was expecting when the season started. I am hopeful that he can have the race he has been working for."