Sept. 14, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - As the sweltering heat of the summer begins to taper off you can hear the reverberations of the Tulane cross country program as they begin preparations for their season opening competition on Sept. 15 at the South Alabama Azalea Classic.
The corps of veterans all reported to campus on Aug. 23 and has been going through training and conditioning, but it is nothing that they haven't been through before. The men's team lost a trio of seniors from last season, but returns a trio of runners, while the women's squad brings back four of their five scoring runners from 2011 NCAA South Central Regional.
After another summer of training, Mark Manion will look carry over some of the momentum that he built towards the end of the 2011 schedule. Manion was the team's top finisher at the NCAA South Central Regional and among the scoring runners at the Conference USA Championships. His solid freshman season netted him All-State honors from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Geoffrey Zelek was among the scoring runners for the Olive and Blue at four meets and capped off his rookie season by earning All-State honors in track and field. Michael Villasin will enter his senior season, while Nicholas Meloro, Jack White and Adam Yohanan all start their first season with the program.
Meloro was a two-time All-State competitor while at Germantown Academy, while White earned All-State laurels twice in track and field. Yohanan was the New York City Public School Champion at the 1600-meter distance last season and earned All-State honors as a senior in cross country.
Paige Callahan enters her sophomore season looking to lead by example, as she did as a freshman and back up her selection as the LSWA Female Runner of the Year. The Annapolis, Md. native was the team's top finisher in five of six meets in 2011 and posted a top 5K time of 18:01.00 at the McNeese Cowboy Stampede. She finished second on the team to Katherine Crabtree at the Conference USA Championships, with both runners finishing among the top-40.
Of the newcomers, coach Peterson will look for freshman Mikayla Sonneborn and sophomore Kelci Lyons to make an impact on this seasons roster. Lyons didn't compete in cross country last season, but was among the top 800 meter runners during the track and field indoor campaign. Sonneborn was a qualifier for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Cross Country State Championships as a senior, the first season that her school offered the sport.
You can follow the Green Wave cross country/track and field program on Twitter (@GreenWaveTkFld) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.