Sept. 8, 2011
WASHINGTON - A little over a week after the team was tabbed preseason No. 22 by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the men's cross country team gets set to start the 2011 season in Charlottesville, Va., at the Lou Onesty Open on Friday, September 9. The Hoyas also made an appearance in the Mid-Atlantic preseason rankings at No. 3 regionally.
The team comes in with much more experience than the 2010 season where three of the seven NCAA competitors were in their first season of eligibility in cross country in Andrew Springer (Westerly, R.I./Westerly), Ben Furcht (Ardmore, Pa./Lower Merion) and Bobby Peavey (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam).
Mark Dennin (Gilbertsville, Pa./Boyerstown) returns for the Hoyas with the highest finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships alongside T.C. Lumbar (Edina, Minn./Edina) who also competed at the national championships.
Joining the returning Hoyas will be the talent-filled freshman distance class that features Omar Kaddurah (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc), a two-time Michigan State Champion who holds the state meet record in the 1,600-meter run (4:07), a record he set as a junior. John Murray (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) will also look to help the squad early as he is a two-time Footlocker Cross Country National Championship qualifier finishing as high as No. 21 in 2010. Also adding to the youthful strength of the Hoyas will be Collin Leibold (Falls Church, Va./Gonzaga), a Washington Post All-Met standout who finished 20th at the Nike Cross Country Southeast region Championships.
The Blue & Gray will work this Friday's meet into their training for the season, not altering their practice for the competition as they are aiming to peak at the postseason championships. In previous seasons, the Hoyas have waited a week and opened at the Harry Groves Invitational as the women's team does this season or opted for the JMU Invitational in Harrisonburg, Va., where Dennin set a course record in 2009, breaking the previous record set in 2008 by former Georgetown standout and All-American Levi Miller.