ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s and women’s cross country teams will kick off the 2017 season this Saturday, Sept. 2, with the fourth annual Elon Opener at the Phoenix’s home cross country course. The meet begins with the men’s 6K race at 8:30 a.m. followed by the women’s 4K run at 9:15 a.m.
Updates of the meet will be posted on Twitter at the programs’ handle, @EU_XCTF. Other updates will also be provided at the handle, @elonscores.
About the Field
This year’s meet will feature a high number of quality competition as the Phoenix welcomes teams from the local Triad area as well as other conference foes. Among Division I teams schedule to compete includes UNCG, Delaware, North Carolina, College of Charleston, Campbell, UNCW and North Carolina Central. UNC Pembroke, Meredith College and William Peace will also race at the meet.
Elon Women Among the Best in the Region
The Elon women enter the season ranked 12th in the Southeast Regional Preseason rankings according to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Among teams from the Colonial Athletic Association, the Phoenix ranks third in the region behind defending league champion William & Mary (No. 7) and runner-up James Madison (No. 11).
Elon to Host the 2017 CAA Cross Country Championships
The Phoenix will host the 2017 CAA Cross Country Championships for the first time this fall on Saturday, Oct. 28. The meet will be the first cross country conference championship meet hosted at Elon since 2009.
Head Coach Kevin Jermyn
Kevin Jermyn will lead the Phoenix cross country teams in his first season as the head coach after taking reins of the programs in July. Jermyn arrived after spending the past year as the executive director of the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA). Prior to that, he was the head women’s cross country and associate track and field coach at Duke for 14 seasons (2000-14).
At Duke, Jermyn was an ACC Coach of the Year and a NCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year while leading the Blue Devils to second and third place finishes at the NCAA Championships in 2004 and 2005, respectively, while also capturing the ACC and Southeast Region titles. He also coached 18 athletes to a total of 41 NCAA All-America performances including a pair of NCAA individual champions.
“Our team is really excited to begin racing, especially on our home cross country course,” said Jermyn. “We are hosting the CAA Championships on October 28th, so this will be an excellent opportunity for our team to prepare, both physically and mentally, to race tough on our challenging home course.
“We have four races leading into the CAA Championships, so I want our team to capitalize fully on this first opportunity leave it all out there on the course,” said Jermyn. “By October 28th, we want to have every team member cross the finish line satisfied in knowing that they ran their best for their team.”
The Phoenix men returns nearly every member of its squad that competed last season at the CAA Championships including two-time defending league individual champion in junior Nick Ciolkowski. Ciolkowski successfully defended his league championships with a time of 25:08.10 – 13 seconds faster than the runner-up in the 8K race at the league championships. Overall, the Elon male harriers finished third overall at the CAA meet behind William and Mary and Northeastern.
Senior Justin Leopold, redshirt sophomores Michael Germinario and Colton Lawson and sophomore Richie Kasper are expected to help lead the pack this weekend for the Phoenix men. Each of them competed last season at the CAA Championships and finished in the top-30 of the race.
On the women’s side, Elon must replace All-CAA performer Kimberly Johansen, who concluded her Phoenix career with the fastest times in school history in the 5K and 6K and an All-Region accolade at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships. The Phoenix still have a host of veterans returning including junior Coralea Geraniotis and sophomore Melissa Anastasakis, with the pair also earning All-CAA honors. Geraniotis is the Phoenix’s highest returning finisher from the CAA championships with an eighth-place standing and a time of 22:04.19 in the 6K race. Anastasakis was 12th with a time of 22:18.35 and followed Geraniotis as the CAA Women’s Rookie of the Year.
Seniors Brigid Brennan and Corey Weiss, junior Chelsea Smith and sophomores Paige King and Sophia Tasselmyer will join Geraniotis and Anastasakis this weekend on the course. In addition to the veterans, several key newcomers are expected to deepen the women’s roster even further.
Following Elon Opener, the Phoenix will travel to Cary, N.C., for the Adidas XC Challenge on Sept. 15.