DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke men's and women's cross country teams travel on Saturday, Oct. 31, to nearby Cary, N.C., for the Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country Championships held at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The men's 8K race will start at 9:30 a.m., followed by the women's 6K competition at 10:30 a.m.
After finishing fifth in 2008, the Blue Devil men are in the hunt for the program's eighth conference championship, and first since the 2000 season, while the women look to claim their first ACC crown since winning back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005. The women took fourth place a year ago.
However, both squads face arguably their best competition of the season as the ACC boasts eight nationally ranked teams.
The men's competition features four teams that are currently ranked in the top 30 by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll. No. 12 Virginia, winner of three out of the last four ACC Championships, is the highest ranked ACC team, while Florida State comes in at No. 21, Duke at No. 26 and N.C. State at No. 30.
"The Duke men's team should be in a terrific battle with a number of nationally ranked teams on Saturday," head coach Norm Ogilvie said. "We of course want to challenge defending champ Virginia for the top spot, but perhaps just as important for NCAA implications would be taking down Florida State, a team we expect to advance out of the Southeast region. Both tasks will be challenging, but I know our guys are ready and will compete with confidence and courage this weekend on a course we know well."
Junior Bo Waggoner will look to repeat his All-ACC performance from 2008 on Saturday. Waggoner has been Duke's top finisher in every race in which he has competed this season. The Maumee, Ohio, native finished second at the James Madison Invitational, third at the Roy Griak Invitational and 12th at the Panorama Farms Invitational, in addition to being named ACC Performer of the Week twice this season.
Senior James Osborne, juniors Joshua Lund and Cory Nanni, sophomores Josh Brewer, Andrew Brodeur, Stephen Clark and James Kostelnik, and freshmen Mike Moverman and Dominick Robinson complete Duke's lineup.
The women's race also features four nationally ranked teams, highlighted by No. 6 and defending ACC Champion Florida State. The Seminoles are followed by No. 11 Virginia, No. 16 Duke and No. 28 North Carolina.
"Our women's cross country team has been improving with each week," head coach Kevin Jermyn said. "We have developed a greater presence in the lead packs or recent races and our time spreads have improved with each competition. Our women are excited and prepared for the high level of competition we will face at the ACC Championships."
Sophomore Carly Seymour has been very strong for Duke in 2009, claiming two individual titles and an ACC Performer of the Week nod. Seymour began the year with a second-place effort at the James Madison Invitational before winning both the Wisconsin adidas Invite and the Blue Ridge Open.
Joining Seymour on Saturday will be senior Kate van Buskirk, junior Emily Schwitzer, sophomores Suejin Ahn, Mary Carleton Johnston and Esther Vermeer, and freshmen Juliet Bottorff, Kayla Hale, Madeline Morgan and Sophia Ziemian.
Saturday's race will also mark the Carlyle Cup cross country showdown between Duke and North Carolina, with two points on the line. The Carlyle Cup is a yearly competition between both institutions that awards points for head-to-head competitions throughout the year. UNC currently leads the 2009-10 competition 3.5-0 with victories in field hockey, volleyball, men's soccer and women's soccer.
Both Blue Devil teams will also compete in the Reebok Pack Cross Country Invitational on Sunday, Nov. 1. The men's 5K competition will start at 10:00 a.m., with the women's 5K race beginning at 10:30 a.m. The Pack Invitational, hosted by N.C. State, will also be held at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
Seniors Will Smith and Ken Sullivan, juniors Isaac Dunkelberger and Ryan McDermott, sophomores Jonathan Chu, Guillermo Echarte and Brendon Pierson, and freshman Jonathan Sanchez will race for the Blue Devil men. Seniors Anna Farias-Eisner, Shelley Forbes, Priya Khatri and Emily Sherrard, juniors Kristina Krasich and Devotia Moore, and sophomores Leslie Morrison and Amanda Truelove will compete for the Duke women.