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Cross Country Hosts WCU Invitational

Senior Mara Smith set the WCU record in the 5,000m with her time of 17:35.40 in last year's SoCon Championships.

Aug. 30, 2012


The Western Carolina men’s and women’s cross country teams begin the 2012 season Fri., Aug. 31, as the Catamounts host the Western Carolina Invitational at the Catamount Athletic Complex, beginning at 6:00 pm.

WCU welcomes seven teams including the University of Florida, Charlotte, UNC-Asheville, Winthrop, Gardner-Webb, North Greenville and Warren Wilson.

It is the 10-time since 2000 that the Catamounts will host the event, looking to get back to winning an event that WCU has historically done very well in, sweeping both races in 2010 as the women claimed their fourth-straight title in 2010. Last season, Florida won both the men’s and women’s events. The women's two-mile race will begin at 6:00 pm, followed immediately by the men's 5K event.

“I’m sure that everyone is looking forward to actually getting into the competition mode,” said head coach Danny Williamson. “While many teams are still in the preparation mode, this will serve as a measuring tool for many to see where their squads are at in the early stage of the season.”

Western Carolina returns five on the men’s side while also welcoming back graduate student Josey Weaver, who redshirted in 2011. Weaver paced the squad in all six events in 2010 with four top-10 finishes including winning the WCU Invitational and posted a team-best 48th-place finish at the NCAA Southeast Regional. Senior Nolan Clark led the Catamounts in every race in 2011 but the SoCon Championships while sophomore Travis Alfaro was selected to the 2012 SoCon All-Freshman team for his efforts in the conference meet.

The women’s team returns six, including senior Mara Smith who was named to the 2011 All-SoCon Second team. She broke the school record in the 5,000m last season at the Royal XC Challenge (17:44.04) before breaking her own record her next time out at the SoCon Championships with her time of 17:35.40.

"We hope to see some improvement in our squads from where we were even two weeks ago," said head coach Danny Williamson.

"Our pre-season training has gone very well and all of our student-athletes have really bought into our new style of training. We want to have a total team effort from both of our women's and men's harriers."

The event is free to the public and final results can be found at following the meet.