USF XC Starts Season Friday in Sioux Falls
The team returned to campus August 20 and has been training with first-year head coach Grant Watley ever since. After 10 days of intense training, he believes his group is ready to compete. "It's been a tough week and a half. We've put some good work in and more than anything, I think our kids are excited to get out and race."
The men's team returns eight members from a year ago including four of their top-five runners in Billy Brockmueller (26:14), Bobby Brockmueller (23:58), Matthew Horan (25:07) and Blake Stevenson (26:25). The 2011 unit won the Herb Blakely Invitational and posted three top-five finishes.
On the women's side, the Cougars return five runners from last season, including a trio of talent in Sierra Harder, Shelbie Pettie and Becca Steadman, who claimed the team's lowest marks in 2011. The women's squad also recorded three top-five team finishes and an outright victory at the Herb Blakely Invitational.
USF ran well against some stiff competition in last year's Twilight. Pettie led the women's squad completing the three mile course in a time of 17 minutes, 55.74 seconds to place 13th, while Steadman clocked an 18:34.54 for 26th. Harder (18:05.94) had a strong race, placing 17th in the women's race, however she will be sidelined for Friday's race as she recovers from a minor injury.
Running unattached, Bobby Brockmueller (19:00.35), Horan (19:45.67) and Billy Brockmueller (19:50.67) each finished in the top 14 of the men's four mile race, while Jared Noyes (19:56.10) took 17th. Brockmueller is also expected to sit out as he too continues to recover from an injury suffered this summer. Horan status for Friday is TBD.
Coach Watley is also encouraged by the strong starts of newcomers Ethan Tabbert (Roosevelt) and Tessa Stoltenburg (Watertown). "I've been extremely impressed with the attitude and work ethic of our freshmen," added Watley.
"This is a great opportunity to gauge where we are as a team and set a solid foundation for the season."