Cross Country Opens Season Friday at Demon Deacon Quad
Aug. 31, 2012
By Maggie Cancelosi, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@SIDeacons)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Wake Forest men's and women's cross country are set to compete in their first race of the season on Friday afternoon with the Demon Deacon Quad.
The race is set to begin at 5 p.m. on the Wake Forest cross country trails, where Elon, UNC Greensboro and High Point will also compete.
"It's our first time hosting the event and it will be a unique experience for long distance running fans," said assistant coach Brad Hunt. "With a typical cross country race, the ladies run 6,000m and 8,000m for the men. This time around, we're going to run a relay-style, so we'll have two ladies pair up together and two gentlemen running 2500m loops around our cross country trails here on-site"
The 2012 men's cross country roster boasts twenty runners. Five seniors, Anthony Marois, Nate Guthals, Jake Graham, Tom Finneran and Garret Drogosch look to lead by example for their younger teammates.
Drogosh raced in five meets for the Deacs last season, with his personal best time 8K time during the regular season with a time of 24:34.56 at the Clemson Invitational. At the ACC Championships in Clemson, S.C., he placed 18th overall and first for Wake Forest with a time of 23:59.9. Finneran finished fourth for the team and 56th overall with a mark of 24:48.
"Garret Drogosch is out top returner and finished 18th ACC Championships last year and certainly a guy with big aspirations to continue to pave the way with other seniors that we'll be relying upon heavily to make major contributions for us," Hunt said.
The Deacs will also look to Alexander Rose, who finished second or third in four out of six meets last season. The Brisbane, Australia native ran an impressive 25:01.4 at the Charlotte Invitational to place third for Wake Forest and 20th overall.
Wake Forest took last season seventh place in the 2011 ACC Championship.
"The Southeast Regional meet is hosted here in Charlotte, N.C. so 38 of the best teams in the region to qualify for Nationals will be about 70 miles away from campus. The ACC Championship is always the highlight of the year hosted at Virginia Tech, and the two meets will be the most important this season", Hunt said.
On the women's side, the Deacs will look for junior Nicole Irving to continue the momentum to follow up a strong sophomore campaign. Irving finished ninth at the 2011 ACC Championships, where she completed the 6K course in a personal-best time of 20:38.1 to earn All-ACC honors for the first time in her career. The Ballston Lake, N.Y. native also finished 14th overall at the NCAA Southeast Regionals where she crossed the finish line in 20:42.4, where she was named to the NCAA All-Southeast Region team.
"Nicole Irving is our top finisher 9th at the ACC meet last year and just missed making the National Championships as an individual. She was monster goals and we'll be expecting her, Melanie Powers and Allison Homer as our three upper classmen to pave the way," Hunt said.
Also expected to provide significant contributions to the Demon Deacon scoring total this season is junior Melanie Powers. The Orange County, Calif. native had an impressive meet last season at the Charlotte Invitational, finishing second for Wake Forest and 25th overall with a 5K finish at 17:52.9.
Joining Powers and Irving is a strong group of upperclassmen, including senior Allison Homer and juniors Caitlin Hartnett and Allison Johnson. Homer proved a consistent runner last season, as she placed either second or third on the team in four of five meets. The Blacksburg, Va. native finished second at last year's Covered Bridge Open in Boone, NC with a time of 18:48.1.
Following Friday's meet, the Deacs will take a weekend off before traveling to Blacksburg, Va. for the Virginia Tech Preview on Sept. 14.