Cross Country Opens 2012 Season At HomeThursday, September 6 2012 - EIU Walt Crawford Open
CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois men's and women's cross country will open the 2012 season at home this Friday as they host the Walt Crawford Open at the EIU Panther Trail. Both EIU teams are coming off of solid seasons with the women winning the OVC Championship and the men placing second. The women's race begins at 4:45 p.m. followed by the men's race at 5:30 p.m.
Teams from 13 different schools are set to compete in the meet with teams from Benedictine, Danville Area CC, Evansville, Illinois Track Club, Lincoln College, Millikin, Missouri Valley College, SIU Edwardsville, Southern Illinois, Vincennes College and Webster. IUPUI will send a men's team only.
EIU returns a solid contingent of runners on the women's side as the Panthers were picked as the conference preseason favorites. Seniors Gabriela Duenas, Olivia Klaus, Erika Ramosand Britney Whitehead all earned All-OVC honors last season with Klaus and Ramos landing on the first team. Ramos would go on to have a solid effort in the NCAA Regional placing 49th in the meet, the highest finish by a Panthers runner in the OVC era of the program.
On the men's side EIU has a group of young emerging runners that could help the Panthers compete for an OVC title as they were picked second in the conference preseason poll. Sophomore Bryce Basting and junior Danny Delaney both earned second team All-OVC honors last year and return this season. Basting was 68th at the NCAA Regional. EIU also regains the services of Joe Calio who was 9th at the Walt Crawford Open last year before taking a medical redshirt season. Junior college All-American Pablo Ramirez should also bolster the Panthers squad.
Following the season opening Walt Crawford Open, EIU will compete at the Illinois Intercollegiate in Bloomington next week.