NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 28, 2011) – The first of 14 Atlantic Sun Championships for the 2011-12 season will be completed this weekend as the ETSU men’s and women’s cross country teams head to Nashville for the conference meet.
The A-Sun Championship, which will be contested on the grounds of Percy Warner Park on the Vaughn's Gap Course, will begin Saturday morning with the men’s 8K race at 11 a.m. (Eastern) followed by the women’s 5K at 11:45 p.m.
Vaughn's Gap Course has hosted the A-Sun Cross Country Championship on two occasions prior to this year coming in 2004 and 2007.
The Buccaneer men will be gunning for their first A-Sun crown since hoisting the hardware back in 2008 down in Macon, Ga. Overall, ETSU has won 20 conference cross country championships, and should the Bucs want to bring their 21st championship trophy back to Johnson City, they will need to dethrone two-time defending champion Kennesaw State. The Owls enter the 2011 conference meet as the favorite; however, the Bucs moved from fifth to third in the final coaches poll. Sandwiched between both schools is Belmont – who will be racing in its final A-Sun Championship this weekend. All three programs are ranked in the USTFCCCA South Region Rankings.
During the year the Blue and Gold have been led up front by Filip Jalovy (Modrice, Czech Republic), Landon Milhorn (The Woodlands, Texas), and Anders Ludvigsen (Odense, Denmark). Jalovy currently holds the fifth fastest 8K time in the A-Sun (25:00.33), while Milhorn and Ludvigsen rank 11th and 14th, respectively.
Kennesaw State’s Jaakko Nieminen enters Saturday’s championship with the fastest time this season (23:32.96) and reigning individual champion – Gilbert Kemboi from USC Upstate – ranks second with a mark of 24:14.00.
Meanwhile, on the women’s side, North Florida enters as the defending champ and the favorite this weekend in the Music City. Lipscomb and Jacksonville are expected to test the Ospreys.
The Lady Bucs, who are tied for eighth with Kennesaw State in the A-Sun coaches poll, will be led by freshman runner Isabelle Grosskopff (Telgte, Germany). Grosskopff posted the A-Sun’s 18th fastest time at the Greater Louisville Classic when she clocked in at 18:15.23 on the 5K course. In addition to Grosskopff, sophomore Chelsea Clark (Fairmont, W. Va.) has enjoyed a strong season and hopes to cap it off with a stellar run on Saturday. Clark and Grosskopff have shared time as the front runners for the ETSU women’s team and both look to capture all-conference accolades in Nashville.
Stay tuned to ETSUBucs.com and AtlanticSun.org for championship information.