Friday, November 1, 2013

Big East Cross Country Championship Meet Preview

XC Championships Include Top-Ranked Teams

Oct. 31, 2013

Complete Release (PDF) Get Acrobat Reader | Women's 6k Map | Men's 8k Map

NEW YORK - Some of the nation's best cross country teams will be competing in the 2013 BIG EAST Cross Country Championships, which will be held at the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course in Kenosha, Wis., on Saturday, Nov. 2.  The men's 8K race will begin at 11 a.m. CT and the women's 6K race will start at 11:50.  Marquette University will serve as the championship host.

Cross Country has been one of the BIG EAST's strongest sports through the years and the tradition has continued this season.  In this week's U.S. Track & Field Coaches' Poll, the BIG EAST has three top 10 women's teams.  Georgetown is third, followed by Providence at No. 4 and Butler at No. 7.  In this week's men's poll, Providence is 19th and Villanova is 26th.

In 2013, new conference members Butler, Creighton and Xavier will be competing for the first time with DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, and Villanova.

Emily Lipari took the 2012 crown
The Georgetown women, who are the defending BIG EAST champions, will rely on their strong depth to try to hold on to the conference crown.  The Hoyas are coming off a first-place finish at the Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute, Ind.  Samantha Nadel, a freshman in eligibility, and all-American Katrina Coogan have been two of the best Hoyas.  Coogan finished eighth in last year's BIG EAST race.  Georgetown won the 2011 NCAA national championship.

The Providence women, who were the 2012 NCAA national runners-up, are led by senior Emily Sisson, who finished second of 288 competitors at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 19 with a time of 19:44.  Usually, Sisson is closely followed by teammates Sarah Mary Collins, a sophomore who placed second in last year's championship, and senior Laura Nagel, who was 11th last year.

Butler, which is competing in its first BIG EAST Championship in any sport, is led by senior Katie Clark, who won the individual title at the Atlantic 10 championship last year.  The Bulldogs also won the team crown.  This fall, Clark finished 10th at the Pre-NCAA meet with a time of 20:15.59.

Traditional power Villanova is led by senior Emily Lipari, won last year's BIG EAST race with a time of 20:45.33.  She is a nine-time BIG EAST champion in cross country and track and field.  This fall, she placed seventh among 340 runners at the Pre-NCAA Meet with a time of 20.71.1.  The Villanova women have won nine NCAA titles, the last coming in 2010.

The Xavier women have enjoyed a strong fall season and, like Butler, will be competing in their first BIG EAST championship.  Abby Fischer won the Queen City Invitational while setting a personal best in the 5K with a time of 17:32.16.  Clare Fischer, Abby's twin sister, ran a personal best time of 21:05 at the Paul Short Invitational.

Host Marquette figures to be led by sophomore Kellie Greenwood who has been first in every meet this fall for the Golden Eagles.  She ran a personal best time of 21:25 at the Bradley "Pink" Classic.

On the men's side, Providence junior Shane Quinn is back after finishing second in last year's BIG EAST race with a time of 24:38.81.  He placed ninth this fall among 288 competitors at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational with a season-best time of 23:32.  Junior Benjamin Connor and graduate student Julian Saad have been the other prime contributors for the Friars this fall.

Patrick Tiernan is #1 for Villanova men
The Villanova men have been led by freshman Patrick Tiernan, who most recently finished third of 272 runners in the Princeton Invitational with a time of 23:50.  He has been the top finisher on his team for the past three weeks.  The Wildcat team won the meet.

The Butler men may make a strong showing at their first BIG EAST event.  The Bulldogs have been led by junior Tom Curr, who covered the 8K course at the Pre-National Invitational in 23:40.10.  It's the fastest time ever by a Butler runner on the course and gave Curr an eighth-place individual finish in a field of 359.  He missed a top-five finish by less than two seconds.

Georgetown has been a regular contender for the title and will look to the experience of all-American graduate student Andrew Springer and senior Brian King.  Springer was sixth in last year's BIG EAST meet while helping the Hoyas finish second as a team.

Marquette figures to be led by seniors Jack Senefeld and Spencer Agnew.  Senefeld is the only MU student-athlete to have competed in the last three conference championships.  He has paced the Golden Eagles in three meets this fall, while Agnew was first in the other two.

The Dannehl National Cross Country Course also hosted the BIG EAST Championships in 2009.

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