DePaul Cross Country Opens 2009 Season on Home Turf
CHICAGO - The DePaul men's and women's cross country teams launch their 2009 campaign on Fri., Sept. 4 at the Second Annual DePaul Opener beginning at 6 p.m. (CST) The women's squad lead off with a 4K race at the Channel Runne Park in Lincolnwood, Ill. The men follow with a four-mile run.
The Blue Demons welcome a field of competition that includes squads from Northwestern, Loyola-Chicago, and BIG EAST Conference rival Marquette. This is the first opportunity for all teams to test their strides, and establish the leaders of the 2009 season.
"We're looking to put up much better times than last season's opener," commented head coach Pat Savage, "Our workouts are much more challenging than a year ago, and I think we enter Friday's meet in even better shape than what we were last year."
While both the men's and women's squads took top spot at the UIC Opener two years ago, both Blue Demon teams finished in third at the Inaugural DePaul Opener during the 2008 season. The men's team, led by Matthew Graham and Jakub Kolacz, took the team to a fourth place finish at the following week's Fordham Fiasco. Graham placed second overall, and was awarded the BIG EAST Player of the Week for his efforts. As a team, the men reached a program-best No. 14 in the USTFCCCA Midwest Regional rankings.
At the same meet, the women placed sixth in the 5K race at VanCortlandt Park, one of the most challenging cross country courses in the nation.
In addition to Graham and Kolacz, Luke Rygh and Greg Udzielak return for their senior campaigns. All four returning student-athletes were a mainstay in the Blue Demon top-five during the 2008 season, and each claimed at least two spots on last year's Top-10 8K performance list. Graham earned the top spot, after clocking a time of 25:19 at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational.
Fronting the pack for the women are Mary Cate Quiett and Terah Cheatham. The duo traded places as the top DePaul finisher last season, while Quiett logged both the top 5K and 6K times. Also emerging as underclassmen leaders, Stephanie Hughes and Kelly Pickering placed in the Blue Demon top-five all season long.
The men's and women's rosters received a boost this year, adding seven student-athletes to the men's roster and three to the women's.
The DePaul Opener is the first of five regular-season meets before the Blue Demons travel to Kenosha, Wis. for the BIG EAST Championship on Oct. 31.