Cross country to kickoff season Friday at Covered Bridge Open
Lisa Pallotta (left), Adam Chase (right)
Cross country to kickoff season Friday at Covered Bridge Open
Thursday, August 28, 2014

Participants in season-opening meet four of the past five years

BOONE, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2014) – The ETSU cross country program will commence the 2014 season on Friday with a trip to Appalachian State to compete in the Covered Bridge Open.

The women will kickoff the action in Boone with a 5 p.m. start time, while the men will follow with a 5:45 launch.

“The start of every new year brings great possibilities and high expectations,” said ETSU Director of Cross Country George Watts. “Tomorrow’s race is designed to get back into a competition rhythm and for the freshmen to test the waters for the first time in their college careers.” 

The Bucs will face off against a handful of schools from throughout the Southeast in the long-standing event. ETSU, in particular, has become a fixture at the season-opening meet, having competed in the Covered Bridge Open four of the past five seasons. In the Blue & Gold’s last appearance at the competition, the men finished fifth overall while the women recorded a fourth-place standing.

The ETSU men will enter competition this season with a veteran-laden group featuring four seniors and three juniors. Highlighting this seasoned collection is senior Filip Jalovy (Modrice, Czech Republic) who placed eighth at last year’s Atlantic Sun Conference Championships with a 25:30.16 time to secure second-team all-league honors. The men were recently picked to finish third in ETSU’s new conference home, the Southern Conference, by the league’s head coaches.

“The men's team is a more veteran squad that struggled last fall but rebounded well during the track seasons,” said Watts. 

On the flip side, the ETSU women sport a young, but talented, faction which will be led by junior Katie Hirko (Oley, Pa.). Last season, Hirko finished third overall at the A-Sun Championships with a time of 17:41.13 to earn first-team all-league accolades. Coming into this season, the women were selected by the SoCon head coaches to finish fourth overall in the 10-team league.

“Our women are very young with the addition of six freshmen and no seniors on this year's team.”

“We will likely hold out a couple of our top returning runners due to some injury concerns but with this being such an early season meet, I'm comfortable with the fitness level of both teams.”

“This will be a very competitive race for such an early-season meet. I'm looking for both teams to set the tone for the season by displaying mental toughness and developing a team chemistry that will carry through the season and beyond.”     

Stay tuned to on Friday evening for a recap and results from the Covered Bridge Open.

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