Tigers Set to Kickoff Cross Country Season
Aug. 29, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis cross country squads kickoff the 2014 season, Saturday, at the Memphis Twilight Classic at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. The women's team will take to the 5K course at 9:20 p.m. (CT), with the men following at 10:00 p.m. (CT) on the 4 mile course.
The Tigers added fourteen newcomers to the cross country roster. Freshmen Brock Ballard, LaForrest Church, James Durkin, Mitchell Kwapick, Corentin Louis, Kristen Adams, Megan Briley, Meghan Christensen, Bailey Kennermer, Chelsea Ladd, Julia Merbach, Melinda Murdock, Savannah Smith and Lauren Wheeler will don the Blue and Gray for the first time in 2014. The men's and women's freshmen classes will bolster the rosters of two highly experienced teams that have shown steady improvement under cross country coach Doug Clark's tutelage.
Results from the Memphis Twilight will be posted on GoTigersGo.com as they are made available.
The 2014 Schedule
The Tigers, once again, will attack another strong schedule of meets in 2014. The event line-up is highlighted by two local meets beginning with the Memphis Twilight. The second local meet will be the Rhodes Invitational (Sept. 27), an event the men and women have swept team wins three seasons in a row.
Memphis will hit the trails at one other meet as they prepare for the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship set for Oct. 31, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On Sept. 13, the Tigers travel to Nashville, Tenn., for the Commodore Classic. Following the Rhodes Invitational, the squads will the run at the Pre-NCAA Championship (Terre Haute, Ind.) on Oct. 18. The NCAA South Regional Championship (Tallahassee, Fla.) is set for Nov. 14 with the NCAA Championship (Terre Haute, Ind.) following on Nov. 22.
What the Tigers Did a Year Ago at the Memphis Twilight Classic
The men placed fourth of eight teams, while the women finished seventh of eight.
On the men's side, Daniel Kuhman and James Maglasang each took top-five individual finishes in the four mile race. Kuhman placed second in a time of 21:26.15, with Maglasang crossing the finish line fourth at 21:38.47. Rounding out the Tigers' top seven finishers were Fabian Fiege (22nd, 22:25.80), Stephen Tankersley (27th, 22:31.30), Aidan Galasso (36th, 22:43.41), Jacob Ryan (57th, 23:16.69) and Austin Carter(67th, 23:31.10)
For the women, freshman Martina Rodriguez was the top-finisher taking 21st place in a time of 19:04.27 in the 5K race. Rodriguez was followed by Alisha Fitch in the 38th spot with a time of 19:44.61. Jenny Johnston (45th, 19:53.22), Meagan Nichols (48th, 20:01.57) and Taylor Kriha (57th, 20:29.21), Phoebe Bauer (21:00.41) and Lauren Berry (85th, 21:18.51) completed the Memphis women's top seven.
Up Next for the Tigers
Following the Memphis Twilight Classic, U of M cross country squads will return to action on Sept.13, at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn.
Head Coach Kevin Robinson
"Our men's team last year was a third place finishing team in the conference level. We missed second by basically one place. We've lost a couple of keys guys off of that team. The recruiting has gone very well. We feel like the men's team will be a tighter group then they were in the past, but we're definitely going to miss the presence of James [Maglasang] and Aiden [Galasso]and a few of the other key members. I expect it to be a very successful year. I think we are going to compete very well. I think we're going to come together as a team and group really well, which is kind of what cross country is all about."
"On the women's side, we've brought in seven freshmen girls this year that I think will change the entire complexion and the entire make up of this program. We strongly feel that this will immediately be the best women's cross country team that's ever represented the University of Memphis. It's hard to say what the expectation is for that group because none of them have run at the collegiate level yet but coming in as a group of freshmen, they all have competed at the high school level better than a lot of our teams in the past have. I'm very excited about the future of the women's program."
"This first meet is just going to be more just gutting it out and dealing with the heat. We've only been together now for about ten days so to say that we are ready to compete at a high level isn't accurate. We want to see what they are made of. We want to see some heart. We'll know more about the team after this race this weekend but we need, as well as every other cross country team in the country, more time to develop. The more meets we get under our belt, the more we'll be able to tell you about the team in the future. Initially, I feel very confident. We're ready to get started and can't wait to see what happens."