@GWXCTrack to Open XC Season at Seahawk Invitational on Saturday
Both Men's and Women's Squads Aiming for First-Ever Atlantic 10 Team Championships in 2014
@GWXCTrack | Men's Roster | Women's Roster
WASHINGTON - The George Washington men's and women's cross country teams will open the 2014 season on Saturday morning at the Seahawk Cross Country Invitational, hosted by St. Mary's College of Maryland, in historic St. Mary's City, Maryland.
The men's 8,000-meter race is scheduled to begin at 9:45 a.m., followed by the women's 6,000-meter race at 10:45 a.m.
The Colonials will be competing against men's and women's teams from host St. Mary's (Md.), Catholic, Hood, Howard, Mary Washington, Southern Maryland and Southern Virginia.
"The first two weeks of training have gone really well," said fourth-year head coach Terry Weir. "Now that we have a much larger team - we have doubled our size on both the men's and women's sides with the addition of track - it has really helped our team chemistry. With such a large group they are really feeding off each other. Everyone is in great shape so it has been a good start to the season for both teams."
GW will run in two area meets following Saturday's season opener. The teams will run at the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sept. 13 followed by an appearance at the George Mason Invitational in Leesburg, Virginia, on Oct. 4.
GW concludes the regular season on Oct. 18 at the Princeton Invitational in Princeton, New Jersey, ahead of the 2014 Atlantic 10 Championship on November 1 at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The men's team welcomes back eight letterwinners and has added an impressive freshman class of six student-athletes.
A number of returning harriers tallied important Atlantic 10 Championship race experience at the conclusion of last season. The group veterans will look to build on that championship experience and have it translate into contending for the team's first-ever A-10 team championship in 2014.
"This first meet is our first look at what our team is going to look like this season," said Coach Weir. "We have had some great practices these past two weeks, but this is going to be our first shot at seeing how our new guys are going to compete and how that will affect the returners."
Junior Ryan Tucker headlines the group of returning harriers after competing in every race as a sophomore. The top finisher for the Colonials at the Atlantic 10 Championship, Tucker tallied a time 24:41.30, the fastest 8,000-meter A-10 Championship time by a GW runner in program history, on the way to a 20th-place finish.
"We are expecting Ryan to lead the way for us this season," said Coach Weir. "He will be in great shape by A-10's and the other guys on the team will look to keep pace with him this year."
Senior Tyler Gillies was GW's top performer at last year's Mid-Atlantic Regional, finishing the 10,000-meter race in 29th place in 33:19. He will once again be a key part of the Colonials' lineup throughout the season.
"Tyler has come back in really good shape," said Coach Weir. "He is in the best shape he has ever been and is the team captain this year. I expect him to have his best season he has ever had."
The sophomore duo of Seamus Roddy and Jordan Pantalone return for their second seasons after both appeared in each of the seven races during their freshmen seasons. Both harriers totaled a pair of top-15 finishes as rookies and will look to build on their impressive debut seasons in 2014.
Also returning to the lineup for Coach Weir is junior John Louis-Pane who was studying abroad during the 2013-14 academic year. He appeared in seven races during his freshman season in 2012.
Junior Jack McCabe also returns to the roster after appearing in both the Paul Short Invitational and Leopard Invitational during his debut season in 2013.
"Our newcomers are mostly middle-distance guys, so they'll need to adjust to racing cross country," said Coach Weir. "I couldn't be happier with how their training has gone through the first two weeks though."
Freshman Carter Day headlines the incoming freshman class. A standout competitor at Vincent Massey Secondary School, the Windsor, Ontario, native has represented Canada at the IAAF World Youth Track & Field Championships in each of the past two summers.
"Carter is a middle-distance guy, so while we expect some growing pains in his transition to cross country, he has really impressed me in his workouts and has a bigger aerobic pace than anticipated," said Coach Weir. Ryan DePinto, a talented middle and distance runner for the track team at Syosett High School in Syosset, New York, looks to make an immediate impact in his debut cross country season.
"Ryan has really impressed me quite a bit this preseason," said Coach Weir. "He has been right up there with the guys. He is a true cross country runner so I am really happy to see what he has done so far and excited for him this season."
Luke Dublirer was a First Team All-Bergen County performer as a member of the indoor track team at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey and carries a 5,000-meter person record of 16:14 entering his freshman season.
Chris Shaffer was the Athlete of the Year Award recipient as a senior at Satellite High School after starring on both the track and soccer teams. A talented middle and distance runner, Shaffer will be making the transition to cross country and looks to be a key part of GW's lineup in 2014 and beyond.
Charles Arnold was captain of both the winter and spring track teams at Melrose High School under head coach John Bleiler. He carries personal records of 4:31.6 in the 1,600 meters, 2:38.44 in the 1,000 and 1:32.84 in the 600.
The GW women's cross country team boasts an experienced core of nine returning letterwinners and has added five newcomers to the roster as the Colonials embark on the 2014 season.
The team is looking to combine the experience of the upperclassmen with the potential of the talented newcomers to climb the rankings in the Atlantic 10 and vie for its first-ever A-10 team championship.
"As a group, the women have been doing an outstanding job the past two weeks in terms of their training," said Coach Weir. "You can tell they took their training seriously during the summer and we have been working out terrifically. This is the largest group we have ever had and have some depth, which is going to be big for us moving forward."
Sophomore Macaulay Porter headlines the returning harriers after appearing in all seven races as a freshman. She registered two top-10 finishes during the season and was GW's top performer at the Atlantic 10 Championship where she finished in 29th place.
"Macaulay is very consistent with her racing," said Coach Weir. "Each week she is getting better and better. She will be one of our scorers and one of our top runners."
Senior Kathryn Luker, who has appeared in 17 races over the past three years, will look to make the most of her final collegiate season. Her best race last season came at the Catholic Invitational where she finished in 13th place out of 73 competitors.
"Katie is in really great shape and had a great summer," said Coach Weir. "She is going to be a top-seven runner for us and she is our team captain. She has really embraced that role and has been a great leader for the younger runners."
Senior Erica Halvorson also carries a bevy of experience into this season with 15 career races under her belt. Last season, she appeared in five races with her best finish coming at the Catholic Invitational (23rd place).
Sophomore Ariana North, who finished among the top-13 competitors in each of her three races as a rookie, will look to be a regular contributor this season. Sophomore Kirsten Zeller also returns after appearing in three races, highlighted by a 17th-place finish at the Catholic Invitational, as a freshman.
"Ariana is in fantastic shape and will be one of our top scorers this season," said Coach Weir.
Senior Aubrey Gunnels rounds out the returning harriers and is back from injury ready to contribute in her final season.
Graduate student Hannah Rowe, a transfer from Dartmouth, headlines the group of newcomers for the Colonials. She helped the Big Green to the 2013 Ivy League Cross County Championship and also finished in third place in the 10,000-meter race at last year's ECAC Championship Meet.
"Hannah won't be running cross country for us, but having her around has been great for the team," said Coach Weir. "She brings a tremendous amount of experience and will be a great mentor for this team. She is someone that our team can learn from and feed off of."
Sophomore Liberty Mason-Sharma competed for GW club cross country last season and will make the transition to the varsity squad this fall. She was a track star at West Morris Mendham High School in New Jersey, helping the team to multiple championships during her scholastic career.
Freshman Miranda DiBiasio, a talented middle and distance runner at Ohio's Berea-Midpark High School, was a four-time cross country MVP and two-time All-Conference selection scholastically. DiBiasio and classmate Lauren t'Kint de Roodenbeke, a former All-League First and Second Team Selection at Carlsbad High School in California, figure to make an immediate impact on the lineup in their debut seasons.
"Both Miranda and Lauren are both very tough runners and have had a fantastic first two weeks of practice," said Coach Weir. "We are really looking forward to seeing how they compete this weekend."
Freshman Samantha Shenk, a two-year captain of both the cross country and track teams at Great Valley High School in Pennsylvania, along with freshmen Kirsten Nottingham and and graduate student Christy Cohick, round out the Colonials' roster for 2014.
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