Oct. 29, 2013
PITTSBURGH -- Pitt cross country will appear in its first-ever ACC Championships, hosted by Wake Forest, on Friday, Nov. 1. The meet is set for Beeson Park in Kernersville, N.C., starting with the men at 10 a.m. The women's race will get underway at 11 a.m.
The men's race will be eight kilometers, while the women's will be six kilometers.
LOOKING FOR HARDWARE:
In addition to team trophies and medallions for the first individual finishers, the ACC will also honor the top 21 runners in each race with an All-Conference Team citation. The first true freshman finisher in each race will also be named the Freshman of the Year.
PITT WOMEN IN THE RANKINGS
The Pitt women's cross country team broke into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Poll in late September and has since risen to the No. 12 spot. The Panthers were not ranked during the first two weeks of the season. Their No. 15 ranking on Sept. 23 put them in the rankings for the first time since Oct. 29, 2012. Their current ranking of 12th is their highest in more than four years.
PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME:
When the Pitt men's cross country team competed in the White and Open races at the Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 19, all nine Panthers posted their best 8K times of the season. Cullen Davis' 24:48.8 was the first and only sub-25:00 finish this fall.
Cullen Davis has earned a top-10 finish in three of his four races this fall. Davis, who is a junior but competing in his first cross country season at Pitt, was eighth at the Duquesne Duals, sixth at the Penn State Spiked Shoe Invitational and, more recently, fourth at the Pre-National Invitational. No other Panther has placed fourth or higher this season.
MONTGOMERY MOVING UP:
Freshman Chris Montgomery cracked into the team's top five for the first time in his career at the Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 19. The rookie placed 82nd overall with an 8K time of 26:25.6.
CONSISTENTLY AT THE TOP:
The Pitt women's squad has seen its share of shuffling in the pack this season, but Hillary Boxheimer, Morgan Perry and Rachel Brown have proved to be three of the most consistent at the top of the lineup. Each of those Panthers have placed among the team's leading five in all of their races. Perry has never finished lower than second on the squad this fall and was Pitt's first finisher at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 4.
SENIOR STEPPING UP:
Senior Stephanie Powers made her first appearance of the season in the scoring five two weeks ago at the Pre-National Invitational. Powers has been knocking on the door for a while, however, having placed in the team's varsity seven two other times, including the previous meet at Notre Dame. Powers was sixth on the team and 132nd overall at Notre Dame (19:40.2 at 5K) as well as fifth on the team and 110th overall at Pre-Nationals (22:551.5 at 6K).
STRONG ROOKIE STARTS:
The Pitt women have placed at least one freshman among the team's top five in every meet except for the last two. At the Duquesne Duals and Spike Shoe Invitational, it was rookies Dee Dee Adams and Karli O'Neill. The St. Vincent Invitational saw Sarah Kochinsky move into scoring position before Adams returned to the top five at Notre Dame.
Rachel Brown has Pitt's only individual victory this year. The sophomore snagged a gold medal at the St. Vincent Invitational on Sept. 21 with a time of 18:53.8. It was the first individual win for a Panther since Morgan Perry won the Cappy Anderson Invitational one year earlier on Sept. 15, 2012.
REGIONAL & NATIONAL RANKINGS FULL OF ACC FOES:
When the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) regional rankings came out on Oct. 21, 10 ACC men's squads had been selected among the top 15 in their respective regions. Additionally, three others were ranked in the top 30 nationally (No. 14 Syracuse, No. 18 North Carolina, No. 23 Notre Dame) and two more received votes (Virginia, Duke).
On the women's side, 13 teams were ranked regionally, including Pitt at No. 12 in the Mid-Atlantic poll. Five were voted to the national top 30 list (No. 5 Florida State, No. 10 Virginia, No. 19 Syracuse, No. 22 Notre Dame, No. 27 Boston College), while N.C. State also received votes.
2012 ACC CHAMPIONSHIPS:
The Virginia Tech men and Florida State women claimed the team titles at the 2012 ACC Championships in Blacksburg, Va. The Hokies scored 55 points, giving them the win by just six points over second-place Virginia (61) and seven points over third-place Florida State (62). On the women's side, Florida State finished with an impressive 35 points. Duke was a more distant second with 67 points, while Boston College and N.C. State battled it out for third and fourth with 82 and 86 points, respectively.
2012 BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIPS:
The Pitt men's squad finished 12th at last year's Big East Championships. Only two of the Panthers' seven runners are back this season. Michael Runco was second on the team and 59th overall last fall, finishing the 8K race in a then-career-best 26:46.01. Rich Addison was right behind him, placing 60th overall in 26:46.91.
The women were ninth in the Big East in 2012. The women's squad returns several more runners than its male counterpart. Morgan Perry was 60th overall, running 23:29.27 over 6K. Cayla Del Piano (61st), Alexandra Cady (63rd), Hillary Boxheimer (64th), Paige Anderson (65th), Kathryn Born (76th) and Rachel Brown (106th) also competed.