This Friday, the NC State men’s and women’s cross country teams will start off their season by hosting the 2019 adidas XC Challenge at WakeMed Soccer Park starting at 6 p.m.
Preseason stats point to a promising first showing for the Pack. Coming off of its last national preseason ranking, the Pack women’s team stands as No. 7, with the men at No. 12. Both teams were also favored in the preseason to be named the NCAA Southeast Regional champs, with the women favored to secure yet another conference championship under their belt.
For the Pack women, everyone’s eyes are still on senior Elly Henes and redshirt junior Dominique Clairmonte, who finished second and fifth, respectively, at the southeast regional meet last season. The team is also returning four top runners in junior Isabel Zimmerman, and sophomores Savannah Shaw, Nevada Mareno and Heather Holt, who each finished in the top 35 at the southeast regional.
The men’s squad is also projected to perform exceptionally well. With four returners having received all-regional honors for the 2018 season in juniors Ian Shanklin, Joe Bistritz, Edwin Rutto and Gavin Gaynor, the team should have no problem kicking off 2019 with a good performance.
The meet is expected to host around 20 different squads, including NC State’s men’s and women’s club cross country teams. Among these will also be the men’s team from Michigan, who was ranked No. 3 in the great lakes region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason poll. This will likely be the men’s biggest threat going into the meet.
However, with momentum from the 2018 season pushing behind the Pack, Friday is lining up to be the just the beginning of a wonderful year.
The men’s 6K will start at 6 p.m. and the women’s 5K will begin at 6:25 p.m.