DURHAM, N.C. – Seven members of the Duke men’s cross country team are slated to take the start for the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship Friday in Charlottesville, Va., with the men’s 10-kilometer race set for an 11:30 a.m. start.
“We have seven guys who are very anxious to run on Friday,” said head coach Norm Ogilvie. “We’re doing a good job of peaking at the right time. We’ve gotten faster every weekend this year. Hopefully this is the culmination of it. The added distance of 10K is a new challenge for four of the seven young men undergoing the race, but I think they’re ready to do a good job.”
The men’s team will bring experience to the race as juniors Nikhil Pulimood and Stephen Garrett as well as senior Jordan Burton will all be competing in the regional championships for the third time while Tom Sullivan will be making his second appearance. Pulimood has been the top runner for Duke this season, finishing as the first Blue Devil three times, including with a personal best 24:22.9 on the eight-kilometer course in the ACC Championships. Garrett was the top Duke finisher at the 2016 regionals, he finished the course in 30:25.4 to finish in 40th.
Burton has been a consistent performer for Duke this season. The Warwick, N.Y., native has been among the top five Duke finishers in three of the four races he has started. Sullivan set a new personal-best time in the eight-kilometer distance at the ECU Pirates Invite, clearing the course in 25:02.73.
Paul Dellinger and Alex Miley have been two of Duke’s top runners in their freshmen seasons. Dellinger was named ACC Freshman of the Week earlier this season and he ran a personal-best 24:36.2 to finish as the second Duke runner at the ACC Championships. Miley had his best race of the season at the ECU Pirates Invite when he led Duke with a time of 24:40.40 to finish in sixth overall and then crossed the finish line as the third Blue Devil at the ACC Championships.
Finally, Matt Wisner will make his regional debut after a strong close to the season. Wisner was the fifth Blue Devil to finish in the ECU Pirates Invite and then he followed that up with a personal-best time of 24:55.1 at the ACC Championships.
“We had a whole bunch of personal bests at ACCs and now hopefully that’ll pay off ultimately at Regionals,” Ogilvie said. “Our whole goal for the year has been to be at our best at 10K and now we can find out if that’s going to pay off.”
The Southeast Regional field will be headlined by three nationally ranked squads. Furman is the top ranked team in the region, sitting in seventh in the nation and Virginia Tech is not far behind as the Hokies are ranked ninth. Also ranked nationally is NC State (23). The Blue Devils are ranked 13th in the region.
“I have to remind these guys that even though the Southeast Regionals is a very important meet and it qualifies you directly for nationals, that the ACC is a deeper meet than the Southeast Region,” added Ogilvie. “They have to go out a bit harder and mix it up more with the leaders than they did at ACCs. That’s going to be a point of emphasis for us, get out in better position in that first mile.”
For results from the competition, visit here.