GW Cross Country Set for Season Opener at Mount St. Mary's Duals
Largest Rosters in Program History Set for 2016 Debut
@GWXCTrack | Men's Roster | Women's Roster
WASHINGTON - George Washington's men's and women's cross country programs will begin the 2016 season on Friday at the annual Mount St. Mary's Duals in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
The men's 5,000-meter race is slated to begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by the women's 5,000-meter installment at roughly 1:30 p.m.
GW will be competing against Mount St. Mary's, American, Franklin Pierce, Maryland, Navy and UMBC at the dual meet, where each team's performance will be pit head-to-head against each team.
Last season the women posted a 5-1 record at the duals, led by then-sophomore Miranda DiBiasio's second-place finish, while the men's team went 2-2.
Men Charles Arnold
Now a full two years into the implementation of indoor and outdoor track at George Washington, the Colonials have seen remarkable improvement across all three seasons (indoor, outdoor, cross country) of competition.
Last year was a rousing success as the men's and women's programs combined for three All-Conference cross country performers and four All-Conference track performers. GW also crowned its first-ever track champion when Miranda DiBiasio took home the gold medal for the 10,000-meter run at the Atlantic 10 Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Entering the 2016-17 academic year, head coach Terry Weir and assistant coach Chelsea France have continued to build the program with a country-wide recruiting effort that has seen both rosters grow to record sizes.
"These are by far the deepest rosters we have ever had, for both the men's and women's cross country teams," said Weir. "Each year we are adding depth and talent and these are the largest rosters to date for both programs."
Preseason is in full swing and Weir is pleased with the fitness level that the student-athletes have returned to campus with.
"We just got done with our first real practice earlier this week down at the polo fields and it went really well," said Weir. "We are upbeat and everyone is very positive. I think both teams can improve on the finishes we had last year at the Atlantic 10 Championship, and on both sides we have the opportunity to post the best A-10 team performances we have ever had."
The men's team returns five of seven scoring runners from last year's Atlantic 10 Championship. Weir is looking for the trio of Ryan DePinto, Jordan Pantalone and Seamus Roddy to lead the Colonials in the top three throughout the season.
"Ryan DePinto has come into this season as our top guy," said Weir. "Last year was his first truly healthy season and he made some huge strides. He is in the best shape of his life right now and he looks great. In terms of leading the team, he is going to be one of our top runners. Jordan Pantalone is back and is one of our captains and a senior. He got some great training over the summer and is also in the best shape of his life. Seamus Roddy will round out our top three entering the season. He is in terrific shape and looks great in practice so far."
The new influx of talent, which includes eight middle and distance runners, will be relied upon to provide depth throughout the season.
"We have a lot of young guys who are way ahead of where our seniors now were during their freshman seasons," Weir. "They all look really good. I think we will have a battle by the time we get to our conference and regional meets to see who will be our scoring runners. It could be anyone at this time. It is a great problem to have."
On the women's side, the Colonials look to build off a breakout cross country season that saw them tie their best-ever team performance at an A-10 Championship meet. GW placed fifth overall with a pair of All-Conference performers in Miranda DiBiasio and Ariana North.
"Miranda DiBiasio is our top returner," said Weir. "She finished as our top runner last season and has picked right up where she left off when she returned to campus. She is head and shoulders way ahead of where she was at this time last year in terms of conditioning. She had a fantastic outdoor season, winning the Atlantic 10 Championship in the 10,000 meters, and she had a great summer where she won the San Francisco half marathon."
North earned All-Conference honors in both cross country and outdoor track (3000m Steeplechase) and has evovled into a top performer for the Colonials.
"Ariana North, one of our captains, was All-Conference last year in cross country and that is a goal once again for her this year," said Weir. "She is in great shape and there is a very real chance of her duplicating or exceeding her 12th-place performance from last year's A-10 championship. "
Like the men's team, there is a surplus of talent that is capable of cracking the scoring lineup throughout the season
"Also returning we have Halley Brown, who came on strong at the end of the year for us, along with Kellit Stetson and Brigid Prial," said Weir. "Beyond that, we have some really good freshmen joining us and they have been a pleasant surprise. We knew they had great potential but they are a little better than we thought they would be for this early in this preseason. I am expecting a few of them to step in and potentially being scoring runners for us come October."
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