Cross country set for SoCon Championships
Matt Warriner (left), Katie Hirko (right)
Cross country set for SoCon Championships
Thursday, October 30, 2014

A veteran-laden men’s team and a young women’s squad will compete against fellow league foes

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 30, 2014) – After the men’s team was picked to finish third in the league and the women’s team fourth prior to this season, the ETSU cross country program will look to exceed these projections when it competes in the 2014 Southern Conference Championships on Friday at the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex.

The event, hosted by UNC Greensboro, begins with the women’s 5K race at 10 a.m., followed by the men’s 8K at 10:45 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow the racing to honor the top team and individual performances from the event. This will be the 85th-annual SoCon Cross Country Championship for the men and the 30th for the women.

Following competing in four meets this season prior to Friday’s conference championships, the Bucs hope to contend on both sides. The men, who have battled injuries for a good portion of this season, are primed to compete among the top three with a healthy, veteran-laden group of runners. For the women, strong races by a few of their seasoned runners will be needed to help guide this inexperienced faction.

ETSU Director of Cross Country George Watts feels good about the current state of the men’s team and what it can accomplish on Friday.

“We have a veteran men's team and that should give us a chance to run well,” said Watts. “The key to the men's success is to have a tight spread between our first and fifth men. They have great team chemistry, senior leadership and high expectations for one another.”

Meanwhile, a young but talented group on the women’s side will need some underclassmen to step up to the challenge to place the team near the top of the standings.

“Our women's team is young and I would be pleased with a top-four team finish,” said Watts. “They've won a couple of races this season and are confident that they will have their best race on Friday. The women's team understands they are a year or two away, but like the men, have a strong bond and will fight hard for each other.”

Individually, the Blue & Gold features a few runners who have the ability to be among the top finishers in their races on Friday. Headlining the group is junior Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.) who aims to place among the league’s best after an already stellar season. Hirko has won two races in 2014 and has been named the SoCon Runner of the Week twice. In fact, the junior has already won a race this season at the Ivey Redmond Sports Complex after placing first at the UNCG Spartan Invitational on Sept. 26.

For complete results and photos from the 2014 SoCon Championships, log onto SoConSports.com.

Stay tuned to ETSUBucs.com on Friday afternoon for a recap and results from the 2014 SoCon Championships.

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