Seahawk Harriers Make Debut At Coastal
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - New faces will dominate the rosters of the UNCW cross country teams when they make their 2012-12 season debut early Saturday at the 8th Annual Coastal Carolina Invitational in Conway, S.C.
The Seahawks feature five newcomers on the men's side and eight on the women's roster for the 5K race on CCU's campus. The women kick the season off at 8 a.m., with the men competing at 8:30 a.m.
"We graduated a lot of accomplished athletes on both sides, including several school-record holders," said Layne Schwier, UNCW's assistant cross country/track and field coach. "We have a very young team on both sides. We'll start the season with a couple low-key meets before working our way toward the conference meet."
The men's team lost workhorses Wil Zahorodny and Kelly Carmichael and returns just four upperclassmen on the 14-man roster. Zahorodny was the team's top finisher in all seven races and had three top-five finishes one year ago.
"Our men are in a bit of a rebuilding year after graduating five runners from last year's CAA roster," Schwier noted. "John (Riemer) and Ryan (O'Connor) are the top returners and captains for the season. We have a couple quality transfers in Mike (Brewer) and Dylan (Skinner) who should help, and we have a couple freshmen in Tommy (Schotzinger) and Nick (Lucas) that should help right away."
The Seahawks have seven meets on tap for the new season, including the popular Seahawk Invitational on Friday, Sept. 7.
On the women's side, the roster features 23 runners and only six seniors. Captains Katy Haran and Ashley Wybersky will be counted on for leadership.
"We lost a lot of talent in Erin Brennan and Lindsay Ester," said Schwier. "Our group of newcomers has already stepped in nicely and raised the bar in the preseason. After the first week of practice, I don't see a big drop off. I believe we are strong enough to move into the top half of the conference."
In addition to Haran and Wybersky, Schwier expects sophomore Rachel Quinn and rookies Dakota Foskey, Alyssa Torres and Sarah Alexander to be near the front of the pack.
Following Friday's opener, the Seahawks return home for the Seahawk Invitational before taking off for Williamsburg, Va., for the first of two races in Virginia. William & Mary will host the CAA Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27.
The Seahawks also travel to Charlotte twice to compete in the Charlotte Invitational (Sept. 28) and the NCAA Southeast Regionals (Nov. 9).