Tulane director of cross country and track and field Eric Peterson is ready for the 2013 season to get under way
Aug 29, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - With one week of practice under their belt, the Tulane cross country program is set to compete in their first meet of the season on Friday, as they travel across town for the UNO XC Relay Opener, hosted by the University of New Orleans.
The Greenies will compete against the Privateers, and will also face in-state foes Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State. The race will be held at Lake Oaks Park on Lakeshore Drive, close to UNO's campus. The women's race will begin at 5pm and the men will follow an hour later at 6pm.
Final results will be available on TulaneGreenWave.com after the meet.
"This is an exciting time for our program," said Tulane director of track and field and cross country Eric Peterson. "I love this time of the year. Everybody returns from the summer time, full of hope and enthusiasm. Of course, the freshmen are so wide-eyed about the new things happening in their lives. All of the returnees have taken on a new leadership role. Even though we've only been together for about one week, you can see all of that happening as everybody is getting to know each other a little bit better and learning to work together. "
Tulane has been practicing in Audubon Park since the team arrived to campus last week. Unlike many meets the squad will compete in this year, the UNO XC Relay Opener will be a 6K relay in which each member of a two-person team runs a 3K. Each team has multiple pairings of student-athletes. Each member of the pair will run a 3K, with a baton pass occurring in the middle of the race. The end result of the second runner is the time for that pairing.
The meet will be scored as head-to-head. Therefore, Tulane will essentially be credited with three meets with this performance.
"This is a new concept," added Peterson. "Frankly, this is something I've never done in my career. There aren't many meets like this one in the country. It's new for all of us, but it does bring an element of not only running for yourself, but also running for your part. Collectively, they'll produce a result that is meaningful for the team. That's a great concept. I really hope that we can develop a good, strong team-dynamic where they are out there trying to do their best as individuals, but also something meaningful to the program."
The Greenies will have a lot to work with in terms of competitors. The women's side is returning a majority of their roster, led by junior Paige Callahan. The Annapolis, Md., native posted a 19.17.40 career-high at the C-USA Championship last season. Sophomore Mikayla Sonneborn and senior Callie Turlington are also expected to have a solid day out at Lake Oaks Park.
"Paige has led this program for the last two years," added Peterson. "Callie has been in a number of races, but she hasn't been in this position, as a senior. I think I've heard her speak up in practice more in the last three days than I've heard her in maybe the last three years. So that is neat to see."
The women's squad will have seven duos, highlighted by Callahan and Sonneborn. Turlington will join forces with freshman Allison Wegner, while seniors Aimee Arceneaux and Amanda Savage will rely on their experience to get them to the finish line.
"I'm excited about the new faces, particularly Sara and Katharine," stated Peterson. "They've looked very strong in practice."
One hour after the women begin, the Tulane men will hit the trail, as junior Mark Manion looks to build on his spectacular sophomore campaign. He'll be tested this season by teammates Nicholas Meloro, Jack White and Adam Yohanan - all sophomores - as well as junior Geoffery Zelek. In addition to the aforementioned runners, Peterson is excited to see freshmen Kade Kistner and Andrew Martz in their first collegiate action.
"I expect Kade and Andrew to come in and make an immediate impact on the team, and be a force in races," said Peterson.
Tulane will enter three men's pairings into the event, with Manion and Yohanan working with Martz and Kistner, respectively. White and Zelek will form the team's third grouping.
"(The pairings) are kind of random," Peterson stated. "We aren't a deep enough team where we could play with those. On the men's side, I just wanted to pair the younger kids with a more experienced runner, and we've done that. On the other side, I really wanted Katharine and Sara - both freshmen from California - to pair off and challenge the older kids on the team."
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field and cross country programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.