Southern Conference Cross Country Championships to take place Saturday
Southern Conference Cross Country Championships to take place Saturday
Friday, October 29, 2004

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 29, 2004) - The East Tennessee State cross country teams will compete in the 2004 Southern Conference Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships, hosted by Furman University Saturday morning in Greenville, S.C.

            The ETSU men's team comes into the event with one of the top runners in the SoCon, junior Peter Dalton (Dublin, Ireland). Dalton has led the Bucs in all four events so far this season, with his top finish coming in the Virginia Tech Festival in the Fields on Sept. 4, where he placed third. He also finished sixth (25:54.40) on the same course the SoCon Championships will be held on in the Oct. 9 Furman Invitational.

            "I would expect Peter to finish in the top five, he is ready and he should have a good run," said ETSU head cross country coach Dave Walker.

            Freshman Jordan Ladd (Lyn, Ontario) has also had a solid season in his first as a Buc. His best time came at the Furman Invitational where he finished 32nd with a time of 26:59.50.

            "We are in a rebuilding year, but we will give some teams a run for their money and alert them to the fact that we are almost back," said Walker.

            The women's team is led by senior Jennifer Habbestad (Tampa, Fla.) and junior Christine Ward (Candler, N.C.), with one of the pair leading the team in each meet so far this season.

"Christine and Jenny have been running very consistently all season," said ETSU assistant cross country coach Michelle Byrne.

Habbestad's best time this season came in the Furman Invitational, where she crossed the line 36th with a time of 19:46.54.

"Jenny has been slowed by an injury recently, but she will be ready for Saturday," said Byrne.

Ward has come on strong as of late, posting her best time at the Blue Ridge Mountain Open on Oct. 15, finishing sixth with a time of 19:17.20.

"Christine is ready to run well, she has trained hard and hopefully she will step up and get the job done," Byrne commented.

"We were ranked seventh in the conference preseason poll, and one of our team goals was to improve on that ranking," said Byrne. "We are hoping for a top-six finish, but in order to accomplish that goal, we need an all-out effort from one-to-five."

            In last years SoCon meet from Davidson, N.C., Chattanooga won the men's title while Davidson took home the women's crown. UTC's Steven Kocsis won the men's individual championship while Appalachian State's Katie Sujkowski was the women's champion.

The ETSU men's team finished third in last year's championship while the Buccaneer women placed eighth. East Tennessee State has won the most men's championships among current SoCon institutions with 14 while the women's team has won the title twice.

The women's 5K race will begin tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. followed by the men's 8K at 9:45 a.m. The cross country championships will be the first event on the new Southern Conference Sports Network, providing live coverage of the meet on the SoCon website, Broadcast coverage begins on the website at 8:30 a.m.