ELON, N.C. – The Elon University cross country teams will begin their season on Friday, Aug. 31, with the fifth annual Elon Opener at the programs’ home cross country course located on South campus at Elon University. The meet begins with the men’s 6K at 6 p.m. followed by the women’s 4K at 6:45 p.m.
The meet, which will be the Phoenix’s lone home meet of the fall, is free to all spectators.
Updates of the meet will be posted on Twitter at the programs’ handle, @ElonXCTF.
About the Field
A total of nine teams are currently scheduled to compete in this year’s field at the Elon Opener on both the men’s and women’s side. Along with host Elon, other in-state foes slated to run at the meet includes UNCG, Duke, High Point, Campbell, North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central. Coastal Carolina will also make the trek to compete this Friday while Meredith College rounds out the teams in the field.
On the women’s side, Elon returns all but two runners who competed for the Phoenix at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships last season including All-CAA performers Coralea Geraniotis and Melissa Anastasakis. The pair earned all-league accolades for the second straight year with Geraniotis finishing ninth overall and Anastasakis 11th overall.
Chelsea Smith returns as the third-highest finisher for the maroon and gold and will look to carry momentum into the cross country season from a solid track and field campaign. Rachael Wesolowski and Sami King also earned top spots in the team’s top-seven at the CAA’s last season.
A couple of athletes who joined the Phoenix during the track season midyear, Natacha Savioz and Gabriela Varisco de Oliveira, will also look to make an impact during their first season with the cross country team.
The Phoenix men returns a veteran squad with all six of its participating runners from last year’s CAA Championships back this season. After battling injuries throughout the majority of last season, Nick Ciolkowski will look to bounce back with a big senior season and potentially compete for his third CAA individual conference title in the last four years. The Fairport, N.Y., native earned All-CAA honors with a fourth-place standing and was the top male runner from the league at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships with a 49th-place finish.
Along with Ciolkowski, the Phoenix returns great depth on the men’s side with Michael Germinario, Richie Kasper and Colton Lawson each being the top runner for Elon during parts of last season. Greg Paugh, Cooper Jansson and Josh Kruppa round out the returning upperclassmen for the maroon and gold men.
Both the men and women will have next weekend off, before taking part at the Winthrop Invitational on Sept. 15 in Rock Hill, S.C.