CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Duke University men’s cross country team will field a full squad for the first time this season Saturday, Sept. 28, as the Blue Devils travel to Charlottesville, Va., to compete in the Panorama Farms Invitational. Duke will face a number of regionally and nationally ranked opponents, including No. 16 Virginia on the 8,000-meter Panorama Farms course.
Norm Ogilvie, Duke’s men’s cross country team head coach, is looking forward to the high level of competition the Blue Devils will face at the Panorama Farms Invitational. A number of Southeast Region teams will also be attending the meet, as the Panorama Farms will host the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship meet in November.
“We’re going to be going up against No. 16 Virginia on their home course, so that’ll be a very challenging team for us,” Ogilvie said. “It’s a chance to face teams from across the country. California is coming from 3,000 miles away. Auburn is coming to the meet. A bunch of Southeast Region teams, as well.”
Duke returns five of the top-seven finishers from last season’s Panorama Farms Invitational, including junior Shaun Thompson, senior Brian Atkinson, graduate student Mike Moverman, senior Lucas Talavan-Becker and senior Phil Fairleigh. The Blue Devils finished fifth at last year’s competition.
Duke welcomes the return of two student-athletes that have yet to toe the line this season, as Ogilvie includes Moverman and Thompson on the list of ten runners to compete this weekend. After not participating in the Bull City Classic or the Furman XC Classic, both Moverman and Thompson will make their 2013 cross country debut.
Moverman returns following an impressive 2012 season in which he finished as Duke’s top-performer at NCAA Pre-Nationals, ACC Championships and NCAA Southeast Regional Championships. The Easton, Mass., native earned his first career All-ACC honor after finishing ninth at the conference championship meet and garnered team MVP for the 2012 season.
Thompson infuses similar credentials into the Blue Devils’ lineup. A product of Baldwinsville, N.Y., Thompson received ACC Performer of the Week recognition last season after opening his 2012 campaign with an individual and team victory at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational. Thompson also placed first on the team at last year’s Panorama Farms Invitational, covering the 8,000-meter course in a time of 24:39.4 and placing 18th overall. Thompson scored in all three championship meets for the Blue Devils, including a 39th-place finish at NCAA Southeast Regional Championships.
Both Atkinson and Fairleigh enter the meet following solid performances at the Furman XC Challenge. Atkinson placed sixth overall and led the Blue Devils to a third-place finish, while Fairleigh finished as Duke’s second runner for the first time in his career and earned a ninth-place finish.
Ogilvie has been pleased with the performance of two younger runners this season, including freshman Stephen Shine and sophomore William Rooney. Shine earned his first collegiate victory at the Bull City Classic, and two weeks later raced to a 16th-place finish at the Furman XC Classic. Rooney also garnered praise from Ogilvie, following a 15th-place finish at the Furman XC Classic and a third-place finish at the Bull City Classic.
The contingent of seniors Christian Britto, Talavan-Becker and Spencer Pecha and sophomore Blake Udland round out the list of competitors traveling to Charlottesville, Va., and will compete in the Panorama Farms Invitational for the first time in their collegiate careers.
With tough competition and a preview of the regional championship course, Ogilvie intends to use the Panorama Farms Invitational as a gauge of where the Blue Devils stand at this point in the season.
“It’s a chance for us to see where we are for 2013 and then, after Saturday, we’ll have three weeks to prepare for the Pre-Nationals meet. That’ll be plenty of time to make any mid-course corrections we may need after Saturday. It’s a chance for us to get fired up and really go after it, but also a chance to examine where we are and find any weaknesses we may have and correct them.”
The men’s 8,000m invitational is slated for a 10 a.m. start. Results can be found here, following the race.