DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke women’s cross country team kicks off the 2017 season Friday afternoon as the Blue Devils welcome NC Central and Wake Forest to campus for the annual Bull City Classic. The contest is slated for a 5:30 pm start in Morris Williams Track & Field Stadium. The racers will cover the four-kilometer course along the Al Buehler trail and the Sally Meyerhoff Fitness Loop, before returning to the track for the finish.
Duke will field a 10-competitor lineup in its first race of the season with three freshmen making their collegiate debuts. Junior Olivia Gwynn will get her first start as co-captain after being named to the position earlier this season. She will be joined by classmates Kim Hallowes and Sheridan Wilbur on Friday. Wilbur is coming off a season which saw her race in both the ACC Cross Country Championships and the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships as well as finishing in sixth place at the VertCross Invitational.
Sarah Armstrong, Brittany Aveni, Lindsay Billings, and Veronica Brtek are all set to start their sophomore campaigns on Friday. Billings was among the top two Duke finishers in five of the six races she ran in, including a first place finish in the Duke Alumni Meet. Billings and Armstrong both ran in the ACC Cross Country Championships and the NCAA Southeast Regionals, while Brtek took the start in three races with Aveni running in a pair of competitions.
Amanda Beach, Michaela Reinhart, and Leigha Torino will all don the Duke singlet for the first time in the Bull City Classic. Beach was a two-time Cross Country State Medalist in Florida as well as a two-time district champion during her prep career. Torino arrives from Florida as well, where she was the Marion Country Cross Country Female Runner of the Year in both 2015 and 2016. Michaela Reinhart ran in the Kentucky Cross Country State Meet all four years of her high school career and finished on the winner’s stand in both 2015 and 2016 with a runner-up finish in 2014. She was also named the Gatorade Kentucky Cross Country Girls Runner of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
The Bull City Classic will be the season opener for both NC Central and Wake Forest. It will give Duke a chance to measure itself against its conference opponent Wake Forest early this season. The Demon Deacons were picked to finish seventh in the ACC Preseason Poll, two spots ahead of Duke.
Follow @DukeTFXC for updates during the meet.