DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke men’s cross country team is set to begin the 2018 season Friday evening as the Blue Devils travel to Elon to compete in the fifth annual Elon Opener. The race is slated for a 6 p.m. start with the racers covering a six-kilometer course.
Duke is set to field a young lineup in the season opener with five freshmen donning the Duke singlet for the first time alongside seven sophomore runners. The 12 underclassmen will be joined by five juniors and three seniors to round out the Blue Devils’ 20-competitor lineup in the season-opening meet.
The trio of seniors include Stephen Garrett and Nikhil Pulimood, along with transfer Charles Cooper, who is set to begin his Duke career. Puhilmood was among the top two Duke finishers in four of the five races he ran, including a first-place finish in the Winthrop Invitational. Puhlimood and Garrett are coming off a season which saw the duo race in both the ACC Cross Country Championships and the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, posting top-five finishes for the Blue Devils in each event.
Duke’s five juniors will be composed of Adamson Bryant, AJ Eckmann, Cole Hoff, Tom Sullivan and Matt Wisner. Hoff ran in five of Duke’s six races a season ago, including the ECU Pirates Invite, where he posted a top-10 overall finish. Sullivan and Wisner also ran in both postseason races last year, finishing third and fourth respectively for the Blue Devils at regional championships.
Alex Miley and Paul Dellinger are both set to begin their sophomore seasons after impressive freshmen campaigns. Miley recorded a pair of first-place finishes for the Blue Devils in both the ECU Pirates Invite and NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, while finishing third for Duke in the Bull City Classic and ACC Championships. Dellinger posted top-three finishes for Duke in four of his six races last season, including a second-place finish in the ACC Championships. The duo will be joined by classmates CJ Ambrosio, Nico Coleman, Ethan Ready, Josh Romine and Mike Ungvarsky.
Devin Connell, Joe Cullen, Carter Dillon, Will Dixon and Chris Theodore will all make their collegiate debuts on Friday, representing Duke for the first time.
Among the Division I teams scheduled to compete at the Elon Opener along with the Blue Devils are Elon, UNCG, Coastal Carolina, North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central. The race will be the season opener for each school.