Marquette Cross Country Set to Compete at BIG EAST Championships
Oct. 30, 2008
MILWAUKEE -- The Marquette men's and women's cross country squads will compete in the BIG EAST Championships Fri, Oct. 31 at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y. The women's 6K race will kick off competition at 9:30 a.m. CT, before the men's 8K at 11:10 a.m. CT.
"The course looks like it is in great shape so it should be a great race," said head coach Mike Nelson. "The BIG EAST is one of the most, if not the most, competitive cross country conferences in the nation and our athletes are excited to get out there and compete."
Last season, both the men's and women's teams took seventh in their respective races and the Golden Eagles are looking to improve upon those finishes.
Senior Kyle Saginus leads the men into action after a couple of very good races earlier in the season. Saginus won the season's fist meet at the Big River Running Early Bird in a time of 18:42.9 (6K) and took 41st and 63rd at the Notre Dame Invitational and the NCAA Pre-Nationals, respectively. His best 8K time of the season was 24:30 at the Notre Dame Invitational.
Behind Saginus, head coach Mike Nelson will look to a talented but raw group of runners that plan to assert themselves on Friday. Sophomore Brice Cleland has finished as MU's runner-up in each race he has competed with a top 8k time of 24:48 at the Notre Dame Invitational. The Golden Eagles will also rely on Nick Szczech, Drew Craig and Mark Kopecki, along with freshman Blake Johnson.
"Kyle has been running great and I expect Brice to be up there as well," said Nelson. "I also expect Blake, Drew and Mark to be in our top six."
For the women, Jayne Grebinski led all Marquette runners at the 2007 BIG EAST Championships in Louisville, Ky., running a 6K time of 21:23 to finish 19th. Along with the other co-captain Amanda Beggs, MU hopes to get strong performances out of newcomers Laurie Dalrymple and Olivia Johnson.
Dalrymple earned All-Conference USA honors a season ago at Tulane, finishing 15th at the C-USA Championships in a 5K time of 18:57.1. Johnson meanwhile, placed third in the 2007 NAIA Cross Country Championships while at Northwestern College, with a personal-best time of 17:46 in the 5K.
"Our strategy is to have the women run together and utilize team tatics," said Nelson. "We hope that running in a pack will help them towards the end of the race."
All of the action can be followed at the 2008 BIG EAST Cross Country Championships Central page where recaps, results and meet video highlights will be posted.
Click here to go to the 2008 BIG EAST Cross Country Championships Central page
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