Cross country season kicks off for U of M
Sept. 2, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Memphis men’s and women’s cross country teams get their season’s under way, Friday, at the Belmont/Vanderbilt Opener. The event will be held in Nashville at Percy Warner Park, beginning at 5:30.
Memphis track and field head coach Kevin Robinson and Doug Clark, who works exclusively with the distance runners, will rely heavily on younger talent developing quickly in 2010 to be competitive this year and in years to come.
“We’ve only been practicing together since Monday, and we’re comprised mainly of freshmen on both the men and women’s teams,” said Clark. “Our main goal is to go to the meet, compete hard and gain another week’s experience.”
Seniors Joe Coneo, Jr. and junior Curtis Gibbs return from last season’s team and will be counted on to lead the way for the men’s runners who are moving up from the middle distances.
Clark hopes to find a couple of strong competitors from a large pool of newcomers. James Maglasang, Justin Pinkston, Darrik Turner, Zachary Turner and Brandon Williams will all don the blue-and-gray for the first time this fall.
“Maglasang has separated himself,” said Clark. “He’s our number-one guy right now, without a doubt.”
Junior Jasmine Darden and sophomore Louisa Lingley are the only two returnees on the women’s side. Lingley, who led the Lady Tigers in two meets, will need to emerge as a leader for the U of M. A plethora of young talent litters the women’s roster.
Carrie Conner, Ida Fillingsnes, Alisha Fitch, Laura Hill, Jenny Johnston, Ellen Kildal, Meagan Nichols and Nandia Taylor will all be relied on to provide a push in their first seasons with the Lady Tigers.
“Kildal and Johnston have been the two frontrunners for the women’s team so far,” said Clark. “We just have to get experience, learn about each other and peak at the conference meet.”
Following the season-opening meet in Nashville, the cross country teams will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas next week for the UALR Invitational before returning to Memphis for two local meets beginning with the Twilight Cross Country Classic on September 25.