DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke men’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 6:00 pm start in Morris Williams Track & Field Stadium. The racers will cover the six-kilometer course along the Al Buehler trail before returning to the track for the finish.
Duke is set to field a young lineup in the season opener with six freshmen making their collegiate debuts alongside five sophomore runners. Cole Hoff and Tom Sullivan will be the most experience Blue Devilsrunning on Friday, with Cole being fifth Duke finisher in both the ACC Cross Country Championships and the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships during his rookie campaign. Sullivan also ran in both postseason races last year, finishing fourth and sixth among Duke runners respectively. The pair will be joined by classmates Adamson Bryant, AJ Eckmann, and Matt Wisner. Wisner took the start in five races last year, with a high finish of 15th at the VertCross Invitational while Eckmann raced three times and Bryant twice.
One of the strongest recruiting classes in recent memory for Duke will get its first taste of collegiate action this weekend with all six freshmen runners representing Duke for the first time. CJ Ambrosio was named to the All-Ohio team four times in his prep career and holds the St. Ignatius school record in the 5K. Paul Dellinger closed out his high school career as the NY State Champion in the indoor 3,200 meters. Alex Miley was the 2016 Minnesota Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year and received Nike Cross Country All-America Honors. Merle Nye was a junior Olympic finalist in 2016. Josh Romine finished as runner-up in the Colorado 5A State Cross Country meet and was First-Team All-State in both 2015 and 2016. Michael Ungvarsky was the Group 2 New Jersey Cross Country State Champion.
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 tenth in the ACC Preseason Poll, two spots ahead of Duke.
Follow @DukeTFXC for updates during the meet.