Oct. 16, 2013
PITTSBURGH -- After a short stay at home, Pitt cross country will return to Indiana on Saturday for the Pre-National Invitational hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute. Races begin at 11 a.m. with the Panthers competing at 12:15 p.m. (men's 8K white race) and 12:55 p.m. (women's 6K white race) at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.
Pitt was in Indiana for the Notre Dame Invitational just two weeks ago, but it's a new week and a new course for the Panthers who will be competing at the Pre-National Invite for the first time in more than 20 years. This time around, the Pitt men will face 22 other teams in the white race, while the women's white race field will include 34 additional squads. Across all races, Indiana State will entertain more than 160 teams from across the country in what is a preview of the NCAA National Championships on Nov. 23.
Seven men's teams and six women's from the ACC will join Pitt in Terre Haute. Joining the Panthers in the white races will be the Boston College and Clemson men as well as the Clemson, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech women.
Pitt will send 11 men and 12 women to the meet. Included on the women's roster is Audrey Burger, who led the Panthers at last week's Carnegie Mellon Invitational. Burger was the fourth different underclassman in five meets this fall to earn the title of Pitt's top finisher. She joins fellow sophomores Hillary Boxheimer, Rachel Brown and freshman Dee Dee Adams on that list. Boxheimer, Brown and Adams are also scheduled to compete at Pre-Nationals on Saturday.
Saturday will also mark the second time this year that the Panthers have competed on a six-kilometer course. The first was at the Penn State Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Sept. 13. That was the meet where Adams posted the team's top time, placing 14th overall with a time of 22:12. Morgan Perry (22:19), Boxheimer (22:24) and Karli O'Neill (22:51) also posted times under 23 minutes.
The Pitt men were idle last week, forgoing the Carnegie Mellon Invitational. This week Rich Addison, Michael Runco and Cullen Davis will be among those returning to action and leading Pitt in Terre Haute. The trio has posted the team's top finishes in each of this fall's meets, including the Duquesne Duals, the only other meet in which they competed at eight kilometers.
At the season-opening meet at Duquesne, Addison was the top Panther in fifth overall with a time of 26:25.9. Davis (26:34.8), Runco (26:38.1) and Luke Swomley (26:58.8) also broke the 27-minute barrier.
Saturday marks the final meet before Pitt competes in its first-ever ACC Championships. The Panthers will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., on Nov. 1 for the conference meet.
PRE-NATIONAL INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE
11:00 a.m. - Men's 8K Blue Race
11:40 a.m. - Women's 6K Blue Race
12:15 p.m. - Men's 8K White Race
12:55 p.m. - Women's 6K White Race
1:30 p.m. - Men's 8K Open Race
2:10 p.m. - Women's 6K Open Race
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Women Place Ninth, Men 13th at ACC Cross Country Championship Meet