2012 Bulldog Cross Country Season Preview
Charleston, S.C. - Veteran coach Jody Huddleston is excited about this year's cross country team as he enters his 27th season at the helm of The Citadel.
With 14 runners on the men's roster and 13 on the women's side, the Bulldogs enter the 2012 slate with significantly more depth than they had last year and as a result, the coaches expect substantial improvement.
"(Assistant) Coach (Kris) Kut did another great job of recruiting," said Huddleston. "We expect to be significantly better in cross country this season compared to last year. We have some experience on the team along with a couple of very good freshmen on both the men and women's side who we expect to make and immediate impact in our top five."
On the women's side, Huddleston is of the belief that this is The Citadel's best chance to put all five runners under the 20-minute mark, a feat that has never been accomplished in school history.
Danielle McKee, who broke the school's 5k record last season with a time of 18:09, is expected to be the No. 1 runner again. Emily Fields and Nicole Ogilbee, who are coming off impressive freshmen seasons, along with senior Micah Wessinger, should consistently place in the Bulldogs' top five.
The men's squad will keep their top-five intact from last season but will lose a good leader in 2011 captain PJ Wasilchak, who graduated. Senior Kyle Keene has high hopes for the season and looks to break the 25-minute mark for the first time since Marty Magg posted a 24:55 in 1983.
"I know Kyle is excited about this season and the course is set up well for him to run effectively if it's dry and there is good footing," said Huddleston. "I think he's got a shot."
The Bulldogs hit the road for the first two meets as they trek to Columbia to open the season at the Gamecock Invitational on Aug. 31 before competing at Trophy Lakes on Johns Island for the College of Charleston Invitational on Sept. 7.
Three out of the next four meets will be hosted by The Citadel on their new course at the Laurel Hill Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, including the Southern Conference Championship race on Oct. 27.
"I am excited about being able to train on the course all season," added Huddleston. "Running at home is always good and a good motivator. It will give us an advantage more than if we are on the road or on a hilly course."
For more information on Bulldog cross country, visit the official website of The Citadel Athletics, www.citadelsports.com.