Nov. 14, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's cross country program will take to the course again on Friday as they travel to Waco, Texas, for the NCAA South Central Regional cross country race at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course, hosted by Baylor.
Friday's competition will see an increase in the distance of each race, as the men's side of the roster will compete in a 10K as opposed to their normal 8K, while the women will jump up to a 6K as opposed to their regular 5K. The men will begin their race at 10am CST, while the women will follow at approximately 11:15am CST.
Tulane is coming off an unfortunate finish at the Conference USA Championships in an otherwise solid season. In Denton, Texas, just two weekends ago, the Green Wave women's squad placed 11th out of 15 teams, led by freshman Katharine Smiley's time of 19:03.63. The men finished last, despite a time of 27:29.68 by sophomore pacesetter Adam Yohanan.
Earlier this season, though, the Green Wave tasted success the likes of which have not been seen on the Uptown campus in quite some time. They kicked off the season by winning a quad-meet against UNO, Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls, and the women followed that up with a victory at the McNeese State Cowboy Stampede on Sept. 28.
"We are going into this meet a little healthier," stated the director of Tulane cross country and track and field, Eric Peterson. "We are certainly going into the regional championship feeling better about the way everybody has been training and with excitement and enthusiasm to finish the season off on a high note. The thing that has been frustrating is that we've had nice meets in the middle of the season where from number one to number five, we had a nice race. We haven't followed that up in our races since then, but some of that has been due to circumstances involving injuries and illnesses."
As has been the case at the last two races - the C-USA Championships and the Crimson Classic on Oct. 18 - Tulane will send Smiley, junior Paige Callahan, sophomore Mikayla Sonneborn, freshman Sara Kebede and senior Callie Turlington on the women's side while Yohanan, junior Geoff Zelek, sophomores Jack White and Nicholas Meloro and freshmen Jack Curtis and Kade Kistner will suit up for the men.
"I think that the women's team is in a better place than they were when we went into the Conference USA Championships," added Peterson. "The truth of the matter is we were pretty banged up. Three of our five runners were injured. Paige and Mikayla were also battling an illness. The timing of those injuries and illnesses were unfortunate. But, all of those kids are feeling better and are healthy. I have been encouraged by their attitude and the way they have bounced back from their performance at the conference meet."
Even though the women are running in a 6K as opposed to their regular 5K, it won't be the first time this year the women have run that distance. On Sept. 14, the team went out to the Azalea City Classic in Mobile, Ala., where four of the five women that will compete this weekend turned in solid performances. Smiley led the team in that meet in Callahan's absence, finishing in 17th place overall with a time of 22:31, followed by Sonneborn (23:02), Kebede (23:10) and Turlington (24:05).
The men, however, have not competed in a 10K this year, so Peterson is excited to see his men compete in a longer distance.
"I think the guys are really looking forward to bumping up to 10,000 meters," said Peterson. "We haven't been in the position in the last four years to even take the men's team. I didn't want to put the team in that situation. But we now have a good team filled with a good group of guys. They are young, and they have worked hard. They deserve the opportunity to go and challenge themselves over a 10K at the regional level. I'm excited to see how they are going to respond to that challenge."
Yohanan has led the squad in all five meets so far this season, including a sixth place finish (25:25.75) at the Azalea City Classic, which was an 8K. White (26:15.39), Zelek (26:22.52), Curtis (26:26.05) and Kistner (30:02.48) all followed Yohanan in that order. All but Kistner's times were personal bests. Kistner set his personal best at the Crimson Classic, running 28:04.69.
Results will be posted on TulaneGreenWave.com shortly after the completion of the race.
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field and cross country programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
Tulane Women's Entries
Tulane Men's Entries