ELON, N.C. – Racing in its final competition of the year before the Colonial Athletic Association Championships, the Elon University cross country programs will split for a pair of meets this upcoming weekend, Oct. 13-14. The Phoenix will send groups to the VertCross Invitational at High Point on Friday, Oct. 13, and the NCAA Pre-Nationals on Saturday, Oct. 14, in Louisville.
The VertCross Invitational is scheduled to begin with the women’s 6K race starting at 4 p.m. followed by the men’s 8K at 4:45 p.m. at the Ivey P. Redmon Sports Complex in Kernersville, N.C. Elon will begin competition at the NCAA Pre-Nationals at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday in the men’s unseeded 8K race with the Phoenix females slated to run in the women’s unseeded 6K run at 12:15 p.m. at the E.P. ‘Tom’ Sawyer State Park.
“We competed very well two weeks ago at the Paul Short Invitational and we put in the best training of the year over the past two weeks,” said Elon head cross country coach Kevin Jermyn. “We are looking to compete really tough in this weekend’s races and use this competitive opportunity to get physically and mentally sharper for the upcoming CAA Championships on October 28. I’m excited to watch them race.”
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. There will be live results of the meet that can be found on the program’s schedule page at elonphoenix.com. The NCAA Pre-Nationals will be streamed live via FloTrack.com with a paid subscription.
About the Field
The VertCross Invitational will feature 17 teams at the meet including a number of current and former conference foes in Appalachian State, Furman, High Point, Radford, UNCW and Wofford.
The NCAA Pre-Nationals will feature some of the top programs and and individual runners in the nation at the site of the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships. This is the third time in NCAA history that the Division I cross country championships will take place in the state of Kentucky and the 80th annual men’s competition and the 38th annual women’s competition. In total, 79 teams are schedule to compete at the meet on Saturday.
Last Time Out
Elon last raced at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University on Sept. 29. Competing in one of the largest cross country meets in the nation with nearly 6,000 athletes from 450 schools, the Phoenix saw multiple members from both the men’s and women’s side set new personal-bests in the 6K and 8K races.
Senior Brigid Brennan led the Phoenix women in the 6K “gold” race with her new personal-best time of 20:53. The Northport, N.Y., native clocked the second-fastest time in school history and was just two seconds shy of the school-record. Brennan’s performance earned her her first CAA Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week last Tuesday, Oct. 3.
Fellow senior Corey Weiss also set a new personal-record and moved into the program’s top-10 performance list with her time of 21:19 – over a minute better than her previous personal-best. The Short Hills, N.J., native now has the seventh-fastest 6K time in school history. Junior Coralea Geraniotis also clocked a personal-best in her season debut as the Orleans, Mass., native ran a time of 21:32, the eighth-best performance in school history.
On the men’s side, redshirt sophomore Colton Lawson set a new personal-record in the men’s 8K “Brown” race. The Bahama, N.C., native ran a time of 25:57 to lead the maroon and gold male harriers. Richie Kasper was next to cross the line for the Phoenix with his time of 26:04 – four seconds shy of tying his personal-best.
In Competition this Weekend
The Phoenix will send six women and the majority of its men’s team to the VertCross Invitational. Paige King, Sami King, Lauren Lynch, Kelly McCarten, Abby Reimer and Emily Smith are all schedule to race in the women’s race for Elon. Michael Germinario, Richie Kasper, Josh Kruppa, Lawson, Justin Leopold and Greg Paugh will represent the Elon in the men’s race.
At the NCAA Pre-Nationals, seven women will represent the Phoenix harriers with Brennan, Weiss, Geraniotis, Melissa Anastasakis, Bridget Kanaley, Chelsea Smith and Rachael Wesolowski all expected to compete. Defending back-to-back CAA men’s individual champion Nick Ciolkowski will make his 2017 season-debut on Saturday, racing in the men’s black race at 11:30 a.m.
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.
The Phoenix will enter the championship portion of its schedule as Elon hosts the 2017 CAA Cross Country Championships for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 28. The meet will be the first cross country conference championship meet hosted at Elon since 2009.