DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke men's cross country team kicked off the 2012 campaign Tuesday, holding the squad's first practice of the fall season.
The Blue Devils, who enter their 22nd season under head coach Norm Ogilvie, return seven letterwinners from a year ago. Seniors Domenick DeMatteo and Dominick Robinson both return ACC Championships experience, as do juniors Brian Atkinson and Christian Britto and sophomore Shaun Thompson. DeMatteo and Atkinson were Duke's second and fourth finishers, respectively, at the 2011 NCAA Southeast Regional, guiding the team to a seventh-place showing. Meanwhile, senior Joseph Elsakr and junior Lucas Talavan-Becker are expected to add depth following the graduation of All-ACC and All-Southeast Region performer Andrew Brodeur.
The experienced lineup will be bolstered by the arrival of a strong incoming class, which includes newcomers William Hague, Tommy Meister, Eddie Merenda, Daniel Moore, William Rooney and Blake Udland.
"Today marks the beginning of what we hope will be a very successful season culminating in an appearance at the NCAA Championships in November," Ogilvie said. "A solid core group of returners and an exciting half-dozen incoming freshmen should make this team a great blend of experience and youth."
The men's cross country team opens competition on Friday, Aug. 31 at the Virginia Tech Invitational in Blacksburg, Va.