Thanks to the Mercer SID staff for this article.
MACON, Ga. – The Mercer University men’s and women’s cross country teams kickoff their seasons on Friday, Sept. 4 at the Strut’s Season Opener in Oxford, Ala., hosted by Jacksonville State University. The races are set to begin at 5:30 p.m. ET.
The race format for the opener is different from the standard cross country races. The men will run a 5K while the women will compete in a 4K race.
“The guys are looking really strong,” said men’s and women’s cross country head coach Ryan Bailey. “We are super young, all freshmen and sophomores. None of our top five from last year are returning but it looks like we have reloaded very well. It looks like we are going to be at least as good as we were last year.
The men’s squad earned 212 points in last season’s SoCon Championships to finish eighth last October. The Bears then wrapped up the season by posting a 21st-place finish at the Tallahassee NCAA Regional.
“On the women’s side it is a little bit touch and go at the moment. We are banged up with some injuries and stuff, so we are going to take it as it comes. We will lead off with Jenna Gipperich. She has run well and is ready for this first race. I think she has a good chance to break the program record for a 4K course.”
The women’s team is coming off a 175-point effort in the Southern Conference Championships to earn a tie for sixth place with Western Carolina. The Bears closed out the 2014 season with a 28th-place finish at the Tallahassee NCAA Regional.
After Friday’s race the team will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Furman Cross Country Classic in Greenville, S.C.