The Western Carolina University men’s cross country team returns three All-Southern Conference performers for the 2003 season in sophomore Adam Puett who placed third at the 2002 SoCon Championships, senior Ben Watkins (10th in 2002) and senior Caleb Bailey (third in 2001). These three headliners will give WCU a very potent attack at the front. The team will be looking to junior James Irwin, redshirt freshmen John Robertson and Daryl Fields, and freshmen Chris Lynch, Josh Montenaro, Ross Hermelee and Tim Koerber to round out the team’s top seven and give them a solid and tight group of runners. The Cats will look to improve upon last season’s best ever finish of third in the SoCon.
“All of these young men have the potential to step in and help immediately,” said head coach Danny Williamson. “This could turn out to be another solid year for the Catamounts if our young and untested runners mature throughout the course of the season. The conference is wide open as most schools are in the same situation as we are, having two or three proven runners and counting on quality guys that really haven’t been tested yet. App State, UTC and ETSU are teams that normally are at the top with us. Furman could even be a big surprise this season.”
The Western women’s squad will be looking to rebound from a somewhat disappointing 2002 season. WCU will be led by the return of senior Melanie Cooper, who sat out last season with an injury, seniors Alissa Short, Becky Signoretti and Jerrine Peeler, junior Tonya Edmonds, sophomores Deanna Kulesz and Tammy Ulander and redshirt freshman Jenny Roseboom. This group forms a very tight nucleus and could be the best Western has ever had.
“All of these ladies have experienced success in the SoCon in either cross country or track,” Williamson said. “Now we need for all of them to experience success in the same sport at the same time, and this is very doable. This group has a ton of experience at competition and should be able to approach every competition with great confidence this year. Davidson, ASU, UTC and Furman are teams that the Lady Cats will have to deal with if they wish to move to the top of the league standings.”
Western Carolina opens its season on Friday, Sept. 5th with the WCU Invitational. The SoCon Championships will be held in Dividson, N.C., on Saturday, Nov. 1.