Lone senior to lead cross country this year

With just one senior and three juniors, youth will be huge for the men’s and women’s Cross Country team this season.Only one senior and one junior are on the men’s cross country team and will rely on underclassmen to build on last seasons’ sixth place finish in the Southern Conference Championships. Three runners (senior Dan Fassinger, sophomore Jesse Ramirez and junior Dylan Hermelee) who qualified for the NCAA Southeast regional last year are back; two others (red shirt sophomore Field Miller and sophomore Noah Taylor) competed in the Southern Conference Championships. The departure of Captain Adam Puett will be tough on the Catamounts and will look to rebuild around a team with nine freshmen and three sophomores.On the women’s side, the cross country team will compete without a single senior on their roster and only two juniors (Kerrie Savery and Brooke Saddler) and look to move up from their eighth place finish at the Southern Conference Championships.Of the 10 members on the women’s cross country team, half of them are either red shirt freshmen or true freshmen; four members (Savery, sophomores Ann Wagner, Skye Aiello and Jenny Smith) competed in the Southeast Regional, and only two of those (Savery and Wagner) ran in the Southern Conference meet last year.Both teams will begin their season on Sept. 9 at Clemson for the Clemson Invitational. The next week, Western will host their only meet of the year for the first time in two years with the Western Open. On Sept. 30, Western will travel up the great state of Kentucky for the Greater Louisville Classic. Their meet on Oct. 13 will be up in Boone against their arch-rivals Appalachian State in the ASU/ Blue Ridge Open. There will be no rest for the team, because the next day Western Carolina travels to Chattanooga, Tenn. for the Front Runner Invitational. The Catamounts will go back to Chattanooga two weeks later for the Southern Conference Cross Country Championships at UT-Chattanooga. If any of the runners place high at that meet, they will move on to the NCAA Southeast Regional at Louisville University.