DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s and women’s cross country teams begin the 2019 campaign at the Elon Opener in Elon, N.C., Friday beginning at 8:15 p.m.
The women start the night on the 1k loop course on the Elon cross country course, running four laps to complete the 4k race.
“We are really looking forward to this year,” said women’s head coach Rhonda Riley. “We are looking to continue off of our success last year and take it one meet at a time and see where that brings this team.”
The Blue Devil women return 15 runners from last season, and are led by captain’s Lindsay Billings and Leigha Torino. Billings finished 56th at the NCAA Southeast Regional meet last season with a time of 21:15.8. Along with Billings, the seniors include Sarah Armstrong, Veronica Brtek and Gabrielle Richichi, who was awarded NCAA Southeast All-Region honors for her 15th-place showing at the NCAA Southeast Regional meet.
The juniors consist of Amanda Beach, Sara Platek, Michaela Reinhart, Torino and Helen Williams. Reinhart earned All-ACC accolades and NCAA Southeast All-Region honors a season ago and placed 20th at both the ACC Championships (20:58.5) and NCAA Southeast Regional meet (20:34.2). The sophomores include Rylee Bowen, Ellen Hirsberg, Elizabeth Reneau and Clara Savchik.
The men are slated to begin at 8:40 p.m., and will complete six laps around the loop (6k).
“We are very excited for the 2019 cross country team,” said men’s head coach Norm Ogilvie. “Our early workouts have been really good and we are super excited about what we can achieve this Friday night at Elon.”
The Duke men return 17 runners from last year’s team, including six seniors in AJ Eckmann, Cole Hoff, Dalton Randall, Ethan Ready, Tom Sullivan and Matt Wisner. Sullivan finished 86th at the NCAA Southeast Regional meet (32.00.1/10k) and Wisner earned Second Team All-America honors in the 800m during the 2019 indoor track and field campaign.
The junior men returning are CJ Ambrosio, Nick Cox, Paul Dellinger, Alex Miley, Josh Romine and Michael Ungvarsky. Romine clocked a 10k time of 31.13.7 at the NCAA Southeast Regional meet, good for 47th, and Miley finished 23rd at the 2018 ACC Championships with a time of 24:19.7. Five sophomores return in Devin Connell, Joe Cullen, Will Dixon, Matt Politis and Chris Theodore. Theodore recorded a 6k time of 19:02 for 12th-place at the Elon Opener a season ago.
The Blue Devils also add eight freshmen in Theo Burba, Rory Cavan, Zach Kinne, Owen MacKenzie, Sam Rivera, Luke Spurrier, Ryan Thompson and Connor Wells. Redshirt junior Nico Coleman joins the team for the first time after spending the past two seasons running middle distance with the track & field team.
The Elon Opener is set to hold 13 teams, the largest ever for the meet. The schools expected to compete include Campbell, Duke, Longwood, Louisburg College, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, North Carolina, Patrick Henry CC, Shaw, UNCG, UNCW and William Peace.