Courtesy: Joe Browning The Seahawks are preparing for the CAA Championships coming up at the end of the month
By Ray Sgamboti, Athletic Communiations Intern
WIMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW men's and women's cross country teams will head on the road to Manassas, Va. , early Saturday for the Mason Invitational at Oatlands Plantation . The meet will be the second race of the season against a conference opponent and give the Seahawk runners another look at the competition they'll face at the CAA meet in two weeks.
The Seahawks are making their second appearance in as many years at Oatlands Plantation, with both teams placing fourth in the race one year ago. The men will continue to run an 8k, while the women remain at 6k.
"It's the same course as last year, so we should be able to have a good idea how we fare compared to where we were last year at the same time," said assistant cross country/track and field coach Layne Schwier.
Schwier expects host school George Mason to be among the frontrunners at the 10 a.m. meet. "Their men's team is very strong, probably second best in the conference if not the best."
In addition to the Seahawks and Patriots, other teams competing on Saturday include District of Columbia, George Washington, Harcum, Howard, James Madison, Prince Georges Community College, St. Francis and Wayne State.
UNCW's men have been led in all four races this season by senior WIl Zahorodny, who finished third at the Georgia State Invitational two weeks ago. Schwier has seen improvement from the entire team and hopes that continues. "Last week we got a lot better. We had Wil out front like we expected and then we had a good strong pack of eight or nine guys. That's kind of what we want to see, the power of the pack."
On the women's side, senior Erin Brennan continues to lead the way, coming off a seventh place finish at the Georgia State meet , giving her three top-10 finishes on the season. Brennan finished 13th in the Mason Invitational last year with a time of 23:00.
The Seahawks are working on overcoming the usual running-related aches and pains going into the meet . "We're still having a few people get over illnesses and we still have some nagging injuries," said Schwier. "We're in the middle of a heavy training phase right now, but the goal is to line up in a month with fresh legs".
UNCW will finish the regular season at the Blue Ridge Mountain Open on Oct. 14, before the CAA Championships on Oct. 29 in Hampton, Ga.