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GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG cross country will begin its 2018 season Friday at the Elon University Opener in nearby Burlington. Joining the Spartans and the host Phoenix will be Duke, Coastal Carolina, North Carolina A&T, N.C. Central and Meredith.

The men’s teams will start the meet at 6 p.m. with a 6K, and the women will follow at 6:45 p.m. with a 4k.

“We're excited to get our season underway for both squads,” said head coach Chad Pearson. “We've enjoyed a great three weeks of early season training and are ready to see where we stand in the earliest part of the season. While it's considered a race, our main focus for each team is to have a hard effort collectively and gain some momentum as we head in to the rest of our season.”

The women, who were predicted to finish fifth in the Southern Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, will have 16 Spartans racing. A SoCon All-Freshman selection last year, Ariana Garcia will be one of the top UNCG runners participating in the meet. Other returners who will be running include Taylor Delaney and Kaitlyn Stone, who were among the top four performers at last season’s SoCon Championship. Chandler McCaslin and Kathryn Anderson, two of six freshmen on this year’s team, will be making their collegiate debuts.

Selected sixth in this week’s league’s preseason poll, the men will also have 16 runners line up for the season-opener. Among the top returnees on this season’s squad who will be racing are seniors Luke Sumerford and William Sandin, who was the top performer for the Spartans in the 2017 SoCon Championship and NCAA Southeast Regional. The men’s freshmen class also represents a large number on the roster as 10 of the 18 on the team are newcomers. Members of the freshmen class who will be looking to make an impact in their first collegiate race will be Colin Alexander, Brandon Hernandez, Thomas Knepshield and Jevon Neal.

“We hope to have our upper-classmen step up as well and set the tone for our teams moving forward to the rest of the season,” said Pearson. “We’re also excited to welcome our freshmen to our teams and we hope they're excited to begin their competitive careers as Spartans on Friday.”

A link for live race results are available at UNCGSpartans.com.

-- UNCG –