UNCG at Elon Invitational, Sept. 17
- After starting the season at the Guilford College XC Carnival two weeks ago, UNCG will return to competition this weekend as the Spartans make the short trip to compete at the Elon Invitational on Saturday.
- The day will start with the women's 5k at 9 a.m. and the men's 8k race will follow at 9:45 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow at 10:30 a.m. In addition to UNCG, Elon, Barton, Charlotte, Lynchburg, North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central will be competing at the meet.
- All 12 members of the men's team will be competing on Saturday, while Michelle Chewens, Ali Cupito, Jade Farlow, Shannon Hall, Kerry Hartman, Danielle Merriman, Kelly Montague, Ashley Schnell, Emily Vasquez and Chelsea Willette will run for the women's team. Ginny Cronley and Chelsea Sumney will also compete unattached for UNCG.
- Two weeks ago, the Spartans had a great opening weekend as the women placed first and the men earned runner-up honors at the Guilford College XC Carnival. Kelly Montague took top individual honors in the women's race as she was one of six Spartans to finish in the top eight at the meet. On the men's side, Tyron Alston came in second place as all five male runners finish in the top-15.
- Last season at the Elon Carnival, the men's and women's team both claimed the team titles. Ashley Schnell took top honors in the women's race by six seconds and was one of four Spartans to finish in the top seven to earn the team title. On the men's side, Mike Koech set a then-school record with a 24:54 to win the individual title. The UNCG men also place five runner in the top-10 as they took the team title by one point over host Elon.
- Prior to the season, the women's team was picked to finish first in the Southern Conference by the head coaches in the league, while the men's squad was selected to earn runner-up honors. The women picked up 10 of a possible 12 first-place votes as they nearly earned unanimous honors. The men picked up one first-place vote and were picked to finish behind Appalachian State, who has won the SoCon title the past six years.
- The men's team returns many of the runners who helped propel them to a runner-up finish at the 2010 SoCon Championship. Joey Thompson, who was runner-up in the meet and named first-team All-SoCon, returns for his senior season, along with Mike Koech, who also earned first-team All-SoCon honors a season ago.
- The men's squad will add a trio of runners from Kenya that should bolster the Spartan lineup in 2011. Paul Katam, who redshirted the cross country season in 2010, qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the 10k during the 2011 outdoor track season and nearly advanced to nationals. Joining the team this year is Paul Chelimo, who was an NAIA All-American in 2010 after finishing in third place at the NAIA National Championship, and Abraham Kemboi who also made it to the NAIA National Championship.
- UNCG returns four runners on the women's team that finished in the top-20 at the 2010 SoCon Championship, highlighted by Ashley Schnell who claimed top honors at the meet and was named the 2010 SoCon Women's Runner of the Year. In addition to Schnell's first-place finish, Shaina Sumney (fourth), Kerry Hartman (15th) and Ginny Cronley (17th) also finished in the top-20. The Spartans will also have the services of Chelsea Sumney this fall as she redshirted the 2010 season with an injury.
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