JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 3, 2004) - The East Tennessee State cross country squads will compete in their first meet of the 2004 season Saturday morning as they travel to the Festival in the Fields at the Virginia Tech Cross Country Course in Blacksburg, Va.
Joining the Bucs in the meet will be Virginia Tech, Concord, Liberty, Longwood, Milligan, Roanoke and Wayne State.
ETSU's men's team will be led by junior Peter Dalton (Dublin, Ireland), sophomore Josh Hicks (Riceville, Tenn.) and freshman Jordan Ladd (Lyn, Ontario). Dalton finished 21st in the last season's Southern Conference meet while Hicks finished 36th.
"Peter has come back in good shape and is ready to go," said ETSU cross country head coach Dave Walker. "Josh is in the best shape he has ever been in and Jordan has been the surprise of the program so far."
The women's squad will be a very experienced group, led by senior Jennifer Habbestad (Tampa, Fla.) and junior Christine Ward (Candler, N.C.). Ward finished 35th in last year's SoCon meet while Habbestad placed 37th.
"Jenny and Christine have really gotten better," said assistant coach Michelle Byrne. "They are more mature in their racing mentality and I like the leadership they bring to the table. I think we can expect good things from them"
Seniors Tiffany Collier (Atlanta, Ga.) and Tatiana Arriaran (Cochabamba, Bolivia) return to the team while newcomers MacKenzie LaBonte (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and Maggie Hunter (Roanoke, Va.) could make an immediate impact.