Oct. 27, 2005
Cullowhee, N.C. - The Western Carolina Catamount men's and women's cross country teams will compete in the 2005 Southern Conference Cross Country Championships this Sunday, October 30, in Statesboro, Ga., in the first of the SoCon's fall championships. The event will be held at the Southern Links Golf Club beginning at 9:00 am with the women's 5-K race, followed by the men's 8-K at 9:45 am.
The Catamounts will look to improve on last year's fifth and ninth-place finishes at the SoCon Championship event, which was held in Greenville, S.C.
"For both our men and women, it is going to take a total team effort for us to reach our goals at this year's Southern Conference championship," said head coach Danny Williamson. "For our men, we have run very well in our front two with Dan Fassinger and Adam Puett, but we are going to need our three through seven runners to work the entire race so our spacing is good. That proverbial gas pedal will have to be down the whole way."
"On the women's side, our young team is starting to realize their potential. We just need to run a smart, consistent race. If they follow the race plan, we could have five or six runners place within 10 seconds of each other," concluded Williamson.
Junior transfer, Fassinger, a two-time SoCon Runner of the Week this season, and senior Adam Puett, who was an All-SoCon honoree a year ago with his fourth-place finish, headline the Catamounts' chances for an individual champion on the men's side. Sophomore Marcus Dunn from Southview High School in Hope Mills, N.C., has battled for the third and fourth spot in the WCU finishing order this season, with Jesse Ramirez and Field Miller looking to perform well in their first trip to the conference championship meet.
For the women, senior Deanna Kulesz and sophomore Kerrie Savery will lead the pride, with freshman Ann Wagner, another young talent, hoping to push to the front on Sunday in her first SoCon Championship. Sophomore Elizabeth Prevette has broken the 21-minute barrier in 5-K races this season, and will try and improve on last year's showing in the championship.
Williamson describes the forecasted conditions for the weekend's event as "near perfect."
"The course in Statesboro is relatively flat and consists of one big loop with two smaller loops on either end. They are forecasting cooperative weather for this weekend, not too hot and not too cold. So all of those factors combined should make for a fast course," Williamson said.
According to Williamson and the SoCon's season rankings, Appalachian State is favored to dethrone Chattanooga in the men's race as the Mountaineers, picked first during the preseason, hold six of the top 10 runners in the conference. The other four slots in the top 10 are held and Western's Puett and Fassinger, with the final two by a pair from Chattanooga. In the women's race, the Lady Mocs are again favored to defend their crown from 2004, holding three of the top 10 places in the conference standings. Appalachian State and Davidson are also expected to challenge for the women's title.
The All-Southern Conference performers will be announced at the conclusion of each race, and are based upon the final individual's finishing order. Runners toe the starting line for the women's 5-K at 9:00 am and again at 9:45 am this Sunday from Statesboro, Ga., for the men's 8-K.