GW Cross Country Opens Season Friday at Mount St. Mary's Duals
Sept. 1, 2011
WASHINGTON - The George Washington men's and women's cross country teams will open the 2011 season on Friday afternoon at the Mount St. Mary's Duals in Emmitsburg, Md.
The Colonials cross country programs will begin a new era in 2011 as first-year head coach Terry Weir comes to Foggy Bottom looking to lead the men's and women's teams into the top half of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
"I am excited to have the opportunity to build a program at a phenomenal school like George Washington" said Coach Weir. "Washington, D.C., is such an exciting city and is one of the best places to run in the country."
Coach Weir brings over a decade of coaching experience, including stints at American University and University of Maryland, to George Washington and looks to shift focus from individual honors to team performance in his debut season.
"Obviously, we would like to improve our finish from last year at the A-10 championships" said Coach Weir. "But our overall focus is going to be getting both our teams 100 percent healthy and training consistently. If we can do that, I have no doubt we will improve dramatically."
Junior Julia Weir is coming off a strong spring season during which she emerged as the top returning harrier for the Colonials. The junior from Florham Park, N.J., became the fifth GW female to break the 18-minute mark in the past five years, clocking in at 17:48.31 in the 5K at the Larry Ellis Invite. She also ran to a 37th-place finish at last year's Mount St. Mary's Duals and is expected to lead the Colonials on the trails in 2011.
Sophomore Kelly Bartz returns for her second season after an impressive debut campaign. The sophomore from Lake Oswego, Ore., appeared in four races in her freshman season, highlighted by a 51st-place finish at the Navy Invitational.
Senior Emily Foster finished among the top three Colonials in two races while appearing in every meet following an injury plagued sophomore season. The senior from Brentwood, Ohio, is expected to increase her production in 2011. Her 2010 season was highlighted by a 30th-place performance at the Mount St. Mary's Duals.
Junior Heather Stevens will provide veteran leadership as she comes off a 2010 season in which she ran in every meet. Her best performance came at the Navy Invitational where she finished second on the team and 28th overall in 23:55.70. She recorded three top-50 finishes in 2010 and will be a key piece to the Colonials lineup in her junior season.
After battling injuries her first two seasons, junior Julianna Stern returns to the lineup and figures to be a top performer for the Colonials.
Erica Halvorson highlights a deep recruiting class and is expected to be a major contributor in her inaugural season at GW. She earned various accolades at Titusville (Fla.) High School including being named to the FootLocker Regional All-South Team and the All-Cape Coast Conference in 2009. In her senior season, she ran to a third-place finish in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and also earned first place in the Crazy 8s 8K Road Race in Kingsport, Tenn.
Aubrey Gunnels comes to Foggy Bottom after serving as team captain at Nation Ford (S.C.) High School where she was a two-time all-region and all-county performer.
Paige Peltan took third place (of 45) at the Monsignor Martin All Catholic Cross Country Championships, completing the 5K course in 21:48. She brings a personal record of 19:15 in the 5K to GW.
Rachel Greenberg, a short distance specialist at Pitman (N.J.) High School, will look to make the transition to long distance competition at the collegiate level.
Kathryn Luker had great success at Freedom (Fla.) High School, starring as a two-sport athlete and serving as captain of the cross country team in her senior season, and is expected contribute immediately. She qualified for the state championships in various track events and was also a regional qualifier in the 5K in her senior year.
Rounding out the freshman class is Siddhi Salvi.
The George Washington men's cross country team suffered through an injury-plagued season in 2010 that saw it finish in 11th-place at the Atlantic 10 Championship. First-year head coach Terry Weir will have seven returning harriers, coupled with a recruiting class of to look to turn the Colonials fortunes and make a run at the top half of the A-10 in 2011.
Junior David McCutcheon shined in his debut season in Foggy Bottom after transferring from Cal Poly. He ran to three top-30 finishes, highlighted by a 17th-place finish at the Paul Short Invitational. He also led the Colonials with a 27th-place finish at the Atlantic 10 Championships.
Junior Alex Dadds returns as the only Colonial to compete in every race last season. He finished in 65th-place at the Atlantic 10 Championships and registered a 23rd-place finish at the Mount St. Mary's Duals. He has consistently been among the Colonials' top finishes throughout his career and is expected to continue to be a leader on the trails.
Sophomore James Stern, the brother of women's cross country junior Julianna, looks to build on a solid freshman campaign that saw him earn a 77th-place finish at the Atlantic 10 Championships.
Sophomores Rex Sheikh and Jacob Levine return to the lineup following injuries that plagued their respective freshmen campaigns. Sheikh was off to a strong start in the Penn State Invitational before being tripped from behind and trampled by the field. He was unable to finish the race and related injuries held him out of the lineup the rest of the season. Senior Dan Kane battled back from injuries last season to compete in the A-10 Championships where he finished in 91st-place. Senior Scott Garrett rounds out the lineup of returning athletes.
Sophomore Jackson Carnes, a transfer from Butler University, is the top incoming athlete for the Colonials and is expected to contribute immediately at the top of the lineup. Last season, he competed in multiple meets for the Bulldogs, highlighted by a 19th-place finish (22:55.61) at the 2010 Horizon League Cross Country Championships. He also recorded a 15th-place finish at the Illini Challenge (19:53) and came in 51st at the Indiana Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships.
Freshman Tyler Gillies was a two-sport athlete at Howell (N.J.) High School, competing in both track and field and cross country. He holds personal-best times of 16:45 in the 5K and 29:15.00 in the 8K. Gillies is a versatile athlete who also excelled at middle distance and relays during track season. His athleticism will be an asset to the Colonials' lineup in 2011.
The Colonials will rely on John Perrino to contribute to the lineup upon his arrival at GW. He was a two-sport athlete at New Milford (Conn.) High School, competing in both cross country and track and field. He was an All-South West Conference selection and boasts a personal-best 5K time of 16:40. He also competed at the 2010 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Hoover, Ala. His experience and athleticism will be a major asset to the Colonials efforts in 2011.
Sophomore Marco Siragusa joins the Colonials after competing at St. Mary's College (Calif.) in 2011. He competed in four races, highlighted by a 33rd-place finish at the San Francisco Invitational, and figures to press for a spot in the top seven in his first season at GW.