DURHAM, N.C. - After three weeks without a race, the Duke men’s cross country team will return to action as the Blue Devils travel to Greenville, N.C., for the ECU Pirates Invite on Friday evening.
The last race for Duke was the Roy Griak Invite on Sept. 23 with the Blue Devils finishing in seventh place in a 14 team field. That moved Duke’s record to 15-6 overall on the season and 1-0 in the ACC.
“We’re excited to compete again after three weeks off,” said head coach Norm Ogilvie. “We’ve had really strong training bridging our last two meets.”
Duke will be led by junior co-captain Nikhil Pulimood. Pulimood has finished as the top Duke runner in both of his races this season, including an 18th place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational and a first place finish at the Winthrop Invitational. He will be supported by freshmen CJ Ambrosio, Alex Miley, and Paul Dellinger. Ambrosio and Dellinger have both won ACC Freshman of the Week this season while Miley ran a personal best at the Winthrop Invitational to finish in seventh place.
“Our goal is to win the meet,” Ogilvie said. “We want to see Nikhil take a shot at winning the individual title as well as seeing the further development of Ambrosio, Dellinger, and Miley.”
Seniors Jordan Burton and Alec Kunzweiler, junior Stephen Garrett, sophomore Cole Hoff and freshman Josh Romine have all been in the top five Duke runners in one of the last two meets and will try to do the same on Friday. Burton finished as the fourth Duke runner at the Winthrop Invite while Kunzweiler, a co-captain, finished one place behind him. Garrett, Hoff and Romine were the third, fourth and fifth Duke finishers respectively at the Roy Griak.
We need to find out who is going to join the top group,” added Ogilvie. “Jordan Burton has been running well and we have been seeing good things from Stephen Garrett. Our top 10 guys will make the ACC squad in two weeks.”
Rounding out the Duke squad are seniors Matt Luppino and Kyle Francis, sophomores Adamson Bryant, AJ Eckmann, Zachary Alhamra, Ethan Ready, Tom Sullivan and Matt Wisner and freshman Michael Ungvarsky.
The meet will have a 12 team field, including ACC rival NC State. After racing in very hot conditions at the Roy Griak, the Blue Devils are once again preparing to weather the elements.
“We haven’t raced under great conditions so far this season. We might race in rain on Friday, although it might not be bad to get that experience,” said Ogilvie. “It continues our theme of being tougher than the rest. No matter what the conditions are, our guys want to conquer them.
The race will get underway at 6:05 p.m., on Friday evening.