Cross Country Opens on Friday
GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T will start the 2014 men’s and women’s cross country seasons Friday at the Western Carolina University Cross Country Invitational.
“I expect them to be competitive”, said Duane Ross, director of track and field programs. “I think it will be a good opener for our men and women.”
The meet sets up perfectly for the Aggies because the short distances give the coaching staff a chance to see where an athlete may be physically. The men will run a distance of 5k, instead of the 8k, while the women will compete in a 2-mile race, instead of a 5k.
Ross said distance coach Perry Cabean, who works with the cross country runners during the fall season, likes going to Western Carolina.
“I think it introduces the new people to collegiate competition and it’s competitive,” said Ross about the WCU meet. “I think that’s pretty significant for a young team like we have.”
Two hundred-eight athletes participated in the meet last season, where the Aggie men placed eighth. Senior Saeed Jones placed 56th with a 5k time of 16:50.03. Junior Perry Cabean finished 63rd in 17:02.94.
The men are poised to make a vast improvement on last year’s showing. Jones and Cabean are back and sophomore Darren White could develop into one of the best runners in the MEAC. There are also high hopes for freshman David Conner.
“On the men’s side, we’re a little bit more prepared”, said Ross. “I think we’re a lot more seasoned on the men’s side than the women.”
The women placed 11th last year with sophomore Daniqua Dye, the only returner on the women’s side, placing 98th with a time of 15:45.20.
“I think it will be eventful for our young women for their first collegiate cross country competition,” stated Ross. “I think Miranda Green is going to do something good. She’s been having some really good practices along with Imani Coleman, so I expect them to really meet my expectations for a first competition.”