Cross country to compete Friday at Blue Ridge Open

Thursday, October 17, 2013

ETSU’s final tune-up before the Atlantic Sun Championship in two weeks

BOONE, N.C. (Oct. 17, 2013) – The ETSU men’s and women’s cross country teams will continue preparation for the upcoming Atlantic Sun Championship by heading east to Boone, N.C. to run in the Blue Ridge Open at State Farm Course at Appalachian State University on Friday, Oct. 18.

Though each team is battling through a few injuries, the women will kick things off in a 5K at 3 p.m. followed by the men in an 8K at 3:45 p.m. Traversing the mountainous terrain along with the Buccaneers will be nearly 30 additional teams for both the men and women.

“The Blue Ridge Open is our final race before the Atlantic Sun Championship,” said ETSU Director of Track & Field/Cross Country George Watts. “We are a little banged up and might have to hold out a couple of individuals.”

ETSU has competed in the Blue Ridge in three of the last five seasons, including a pair of strong performances last season which saw the men finish third out of 16 teams and the women finish eighth out of 14 teams.

Pacing the men last year was Anders Ludvigsen (Odense, Denmark) with a 12th-place finish and a time of 25:01.14, while Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa) led the women’s squad with a time of 18:04.47 which put her in third out of 121 runners.

On Friday at the Blue Ridge Open, the Bucs may look to lean on the consistency of junior Adam Chase (Kingsport, Tenn.) and sophomore Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.).

Chase has been a source of steadiness this season for the Blue and Gold, highlighted by a third-place overall finish at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational on Sept. 20.

Hirko has paced the women in all three events this season, including taking the top spot overall at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invite with a time of 21:32.90. Hirko is also currently averaging a 12th-place overall finish through three meets.

After a so-so performance for both squads a of couple weeks ago at the Greater Louisville Classic, ETSU looks to get back on the right track in Boone.

“Overall, I am very pleased with the training and preparation since our last meet,” said Watts. “Although we might not be at full strength tomorrow, I believe we will have a strong showing from both teams.”

Stay tuned to ETSUBucs.com on Friday for a recap and results from the Blue Ridge Open.

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