DURHAM, N.C. – After a weekend without a race, the Duke men’s cross country team returns to action Saturday as the Blue Devils travel to Rock Hill, S.C., for the Winthrop Invitational. The eight-kilometer race will start at 9:00 am on Saturday morning on Winthrop University’s Cross Country Course.
Duke will be one of seven Division I teams taking part in the race with 19 total teams participating. Duke’s opponents will include host Winthrop, the Citadel, USC-Upstate, Wofford, South Carolina State, and Presbyterian.
After running a squad composed entirely of freshmen and sophomores at Duke’s only meet so far this year, the Bull City Classic, the Winthrop Invite will be the first time the full might of Duke’s runners are brought to bear on opponents. Duke will have 18 of its 20 runners participating in the Winthrop Invitational.
Duke’s freshmen class will be trying to continue their stellar start to their collegiate careers this weekend after the top five finishers at the Bull City Classic were all Blue Devil newcomers. CJ Ambrosio and Paul Dellinger finished as the top two runners with times of 18:07 and 18:10 respectively. Also finishing on the medal stand was Alex Miley who clocked a time of 18:12 while Michael Ungvarsky and Josh Romine were also in the top five with times of 18:24 and 18:28 each.
The Winthrop Invitational will mark the 2017 cross country debut for nine Duke runners. Seniors Alec Kunzweiler and Jordan Burton, juniors Nikhil Pulimood and Stephen Garrett, and sophomore Tom Sullivan will all don the Duke singlet for the first time this season. Garrett and Puhlimood both finished as the top two Duke runners in the 2016 ACC Cross Country Championships and at the 2016 NCAA Southeast Regionals. Kunzweiler was the third Duke finisher at last year’s ACC Championships while Burton finished in the same spot in the Southeast Regional. Sullivan will be racing for the first time since he set a new personal best at the Southeast Regionals.
Also slated to compete will be sophomores Cole Hoff, Matt Wisner, AJ Eckmann, and Adamson Bryant, all of whom finished in the top nine at the Bull City Classic. Along with them, freshman Merle Nye, sophomore Zachary Alhamra, and seniors Matt Luppino and Josiah Hanko will be making their 2017 debuts.
The Blue Devils currently carry a 2-0 overall record and a 1-0 ACC mark into the weekend. Duke moved up to the 11th spot in the USFTCCCA Southeast Region rankings, after being ranked 14th in the preseason poll.