By JANIE HARRIS
With the new school year comes a new cross country season.
“I am real optimistic about the season for both the men and the women,” said Cross Country Head Coach Charlie Patterson.
Last season, the men’s cross country team took second in the USA South Conference Championship. According to Patterson, their goal is to win conference this year.
Patterson said, “I am excited about the men, primarily because of how they finished last year.”
According to senior business major Quentin Deaton, Christopher Newport University is no longer in the same conference as Piedmont. Deaton believes this, along with the new talent from freshmen, is sure to help them on their journey to win conference this year. Deaton says their biggest competition this year is Covenant College.
The team’s first meet of the season is the Emory University-hosted Watermelon Run.
According to Patterson, the meet is fairly informal. Patterson expects Emory to win, so the team they are aiming to beat is Oglethorpe University.
“It is going to help the freshmen guys get used to the race. When you come from high school, you run a 5K. And the guys, they switch to an 8k,” says Deaton.
Both Patterson and Deaton say that the freshmen are the runners to watch this season.
The women finished fifth in the USA South Conference Championship last year.
According to Patterson, the team is going to have almost all the women running last year back to run this year.
“I would like to see them get in the top three, and I think they have a chance to do that this year,” said Patterson.
Patterson says that he is expecting all of the girls to improve from last year. Sophomore nursing major Deirdre Devlin agrees.
“The freshmen [women] are going to bring a lot of help to the [women’s team] this year,” said Devlin.
Devlin believes the women’s biggest competition this year
will be Meredith College. The women are also competing in the Watermelon Run.
Devlin explained that the race is more of a “fun” race. The women are supposed to run four or five miles, and then all the teams will have a chance to relax and eat some watermelon, according to Devlin.
Both teams will travel to Emory on August 30 for the Watermelon Run to open the season.