Fair 57°
October 12, 2012
Hokies head to Pre-Nationals Invitational in Louisville
Four races highlight the invitational with the first to be begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday
Louisville, Ky.F
Louisville Pre-Nationals
Virginia Tech
Box Score: View

Pre-Nationals Invitational
October 13, 2012
Men’s Red Seeded Race: 9:30 a.m. • Women’s Red Seeded Race: 10:15 a.m.
Men’s Black Unseed Race: 10:45 a.m. • Women’s Black Unseed Race: 11:30 a.m.
E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park • Louisville, Ky.

PREVIEWING THE MEET
The Virginia Tech cross country team will get a chance to take a look at this year’s national championship course this Saturday at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. The field consists of a 136 squads, split into four races, two for the men and two for the women. 15 of the teams are ranked in the top 30 of the U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association national poll. Both men's races will consist of 8K courses, while the women's races will each be a 6K.
The men's competition is highlighted by five teams ranked in the top 15 of USTFCCCA’s poll: No. 3 BYU, No. 7 Colorado, No. 9 Tulsa, No. 14 Florida State, and No. 15 Oregon. The women's competition has seven teams that are in the USTFCCCA top 25: No. 1 Florida State, No. 4 Oregon, No. 6 Georgetown, No. 8 Michigan, No. 18 Colorado, No. 24 Villanova, and No. 25 Butler.

LAST TIME OUT
The Virginia Tech cross country teams were in the Queen City two weeks ago, competing in the Fourth Annual Charlotte Invitational at McAlpine Park, the site of this year’s Southeast Regional Championship. The Hokie men’s A squad had a convincing win in the 8k gold race totaling just 31 points, bettering runner-up Wake Forest by 49 points.
The team’s top five runners all finished in the top 10 with Will Mulherin leading the way with a second-place finish (24:26.32). Leoule Degfae was right behind his teammate in third at 24:26.73. Michael Hammond took eighth (24:46.46) while Ryan Hagen (24:48.91) and Kevin Dowd (24:49.16) finished 10th and 11th respectively.
The Hokie men’s B squad wasn’t scored, but with four runners finishing in the top four (Jason Cusack, Brian Welch, Darren Barlow and Patrick Woodford), Virginia Tech head coach Ben Thomas believes that the team would have finished in the top three.
On the women’s side, Tech’s A team finished in eight place, but Thomas admitted that by moving one runner from his B squad to the A squad, the team would have finished in the top three. The Hokies were led by Sarah Rapp who took sixth with a time of 21:35.46. Alex Watt also recorded a top-10 showing by taking 10th after coming in at 21:51.70. Freshmen Hannah Gray placed 38th (22:43.83) and Ashley Hayes finished 56th (23:01.16). Katherine Sheridan finished 52nd (22:57.93) for the B squad.

HOKIE MEN CLAIM CHARLOTTE INVITATIONAL
• Led by 2011 All-American, Will Mulherin, the Hokie men earned its first team victory of the season. The team's top five runners all finished in the top 10, totaling only 31 points. Mulherin, who took second individually, was followed by teammate Leoule Degfae who finished just 41 tenths of a second behind Mulherin.

ALL-AMERICAN RETURNS
• Redshirt senior Will Mulherin returns after earning All-America honors a year ago. On at the 10k course at the LaVerne Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind., Mulherin ran a career-best time of 29:58.1.
• With the feat, he became Tech’s first All-American since 1989 (Brian Walter), which was also the last time a Hokie ran at the NCAA meet.

WELCOME BACK
• The Hokie men welcome back all seven competitors from last season’s squad that took fourth at the Southeast Regional. The team includes All-American Will Mulherin and All-Region performer, Michael Hammond.

TAKING A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
• Sophomore Sara Rapp was one of the top performers on last years women’s team, leading the team at both the Charlotte Invitational and the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational.

CHAMPIONSHIP COURSES
• This season, Virginia Tech will have the opportunity to train on the conference’s championship course as Virginia Tech will host the ACC Championship on Oct. 27.
• On Sept. 28, Tech will travel to the Charlotte Invitational in Charlotte, N.C., where the team will compete on this year’s regional championship course at McAlpine Park. The women will compete on the exact regional course while the men will run on a shortened version of the regional course.
• On Oct. 13, the Hokies will travel to the Louisville Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky., where they will compete on the course that will host the NCAA Championship.

REGIONAL RANKINGS
• In the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) NCAA Regional Cross Country rankings, the Hokie men are ranked seventh in the southeast region, while their two votes in the national poll ranks them 38th.

TEAMMATES
• Redshirt freshman Darren Barlow, sophomore Brayden Burleigh, redshirt senior Michael Hammond (Midlothian High School; Midlothian, Va.)
• Redshirt junior Jared Berman and junior Taylor Crosson (James W. Robinson High School; Fairfax, Va.)
• Junior Grant Pollock and redshirt junior Brian Welch (Mills Godwin High School; Richmond, Va.)
• Juniors Courtney Dobbs and Madalyn Nuckols (Deep Run High School; Glen Allen, Va.)
• Juniors Paige Kvartunas and Alex Watt (West Springfield High School; Springfield, Va.)

For updates on Virginia Tech cross country, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Track).

© 2014, hokiesports.com