Johnson City, Tenn. (August 15, 2002) - East Tennessee State released its 2002 men's and women's cross country schedules this week. Head coach Dave Walker has six men and seven women making up this year's teams, which will open competition on Sept. 7 at the Catamount Classic hosted by Western Carolina.
Both teams will compete at the Tennessee Cross Country Invitational, the Blue Ridge Mountain Open and the Furman Invitational before heading to the Southern Conference Championships on Nov. 2. From there the Buccaneers will attempt to advance to the NCAA South Regional on Nov. 16, and ultimately the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 25.
The men's team has several underclassmen, but return one of the top runners in the Southern Conference, sophomore Brad Yewer (Newbury, England). Yewer was named Freshman of the Year in 2001 after finishing second at the SoCon championships.
"We are very young, but our success will depend on how much I have to do to get them in shape," Walker said.
Walker will have a new assistant coach in Michelle Byrne, who returns to Johnson City after a five-year stint as assistant women's track and field coach at Illinois. Byrne was the head coach of the women's track and field team at ETSU from 1995-1997. During that time Byrne was twice named Southern Conference Coach of the Year. She led the Bucs to their first-ever indoor conference championship in 1995 and an outdoor title in 1996. Her primary responsibility this fall will be to oversee the women's program.
"Coach Walker and I are both very excited for the upcoming season," said Byrne. "We feel we have two good squads in place, and as the season goes on we'll get to know more about them."
Emily Chaney (Maryville, Tenn.), who placed 15th at last year's conference meet, will be expected to lead the women's team. However, Chaney will have help from a highly touted recruiting class that includes freshman Katie Marshall (Metuchen, N.J.). Marshall was regarded as one of the top prep distance runners in the state of New Jersey last year as a senior at Union Catholic Regional High School.