ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s and women’s cross country teams will host the 2017 Colonial Athletic Association Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 28, at its home course located at the intramural fields at south campus. The meet begins with the women’s 6K at 10 a.m. followed by the men’s 8K at 11 a.m. An awards ceremony will immediately follow after both races are completed at 12 p.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. There will be live results of the meet that can be found on the program’s schedule page at elonphoenix.com. The finish of both races and the awards ceremony will be streamed on Facebook Live on the CAA page.
About the Field
The Phoenix will face great competition in the field in both races as nine teams are set to compete on the women’s side and six for the men. William & Mary heads into the meet as the defending team champion in both the men’s and women’s race with the Tribe men seeking its 18th consecutive title and the female harriers aiming for its sixth straight. Heading into the meet, the William & Mary men were ranked sixth in the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Regional poll.
The Tribe women are currently 12th in the Southeast Region by the USTFCCCA and are the second-highest ranked team from the CAA in the poll behind last year’s league runner-up James Madison, who is 10th. Delaware is 15th in the Mid-Atlantic Regional rankings on the women’s side.
Last Time Out
The Phoenix last competed at the highly competitive NCAA Pre-Nationals on Oct. 14, in Louisville to close out its regular season. Facing some of the toughest teams and competitors in the country, Elon saw great individual performances at the meet notably from junior Nick Ciolkowski, who made his season-debut in the men’s 8K ‘black” run.
Ciolkowski clocked a time of 24:39.3 and earned a top-15 standing among the 215 competitors in the race. That performance helped the Fairport, N.Y., native received CAA Runner of the Week accolades on Tuesday, Oct. 17.
The Phoenix women finished 14th overall as a team and also had some standout performances. Brigid Brennan once again led the Phoenix females as the Northport, N.Y., native has a time of 21:36.1 in the women’s 6K “black” run. She would finish 22nd overall in the race among 259 runners. Junior Coralea Geraniotis was the next Elon runner to cross the line with her time of 22:02.1 in 48th overall while Melissa Anastasakis came across the finish line with a time of 22:37.4. Corey Weiss (22:47.2) and Chelsea Smith (22:57.6) rounded out the top-five scores for Elon. The two final Phoenix women to complete the 6K race in Louisville were rookies Bridget Kanaley (24:18.6) and Rachael Wesolowski (24:48.7).
In Competition this Weekend
On the women’s side, the Phoenix is scheduled to have 11 members of its squad compete this weekend in Anastasakis, Brennan, Geraniotis, Kanaley, Sami King, Lauren Lynch, Kelly McCarten, Abby Reimer, Chelsea Smith, Emily Smith and Weiss. The Elon women will look to challenge for the team title while also looking to have some individuals lock up All-CAA accolades.
Last season, the Phoenix had three members earn All-CAA honors with Anastasakis and Geraniotis returning for the maroon and gold this season. Anastasakis earned the league’s Female Rookie of the Year at last year’s meet following Geraniotis from the year prior.
Brennan will look to contend for All-CAA honors this season as the senior has led the Phoenix the majority of the season during competition. She received her first CAA Runner of the Week on October 4, after clocking the second-fastest 6K time in school history at the Paul Short Run with a time of 20:53 – two seconds shy from the fastest time on the program’s performance list.
Fellow senior Weiss has also had an impressive season with the Short Hills, N.J., native also setting a new personal-record this season in the 6K. Weiss clocked a time of 21:19 at the Paul Short Run – over a minute better than her previous personal-best – and broke into the program’s top-10 performance list.
The maroon and gold men are slated to suit up seven runners for the meet on Saturday with Ciolkowski, Michael Germinario, Richie Kasper, Josh Kruppa, Colton Lawson, Justin Leopold and Greg Paugh to represent the Phoenix. Elon will look best its highest Division I conference finish ever at the meet of third, which it has finished the past three seasons in the CAA.
Individually, the Phoenix men has taken medalist honors the past three seasons in the 8K race with Ciolkowski successfully defending his league title during last year’s championship meet. Ciolkowski clocked a time of 25:08.10 in the men’s 8K race – nearly 13 seconds faster than the runner-up – and was the Most Outstanding Performer of the Meet for the second year in a row. He later repeated as the CAA Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year and was the also the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Heading into Saturday, Ciolkowski will have a chance to become only the second runner in league history to three-peat as individual champion. JMU’s Pete Weilenmann achieved the feat from 1987 to 1989.
Elon will have a couple of weeks to prepare for its next competition, the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Friday, Nov. 10. The meet will be hosted by the University of Virginia.