BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern men's and women's cross country teams are gearing up for the 2017 season and are ready to compete for a Southern Athletic Association Championship.
"I believe that this is the first time in a few years that we don't have a handful of seniors, so it's exciting to see what the personality of this team will be," said Head Coach Kenneth Cox. "They have all been working well together and that is a positive sign. For the most part, it will be our juniors and seniors leading by committee."
Among the group of upper classmen are Morgan Reynolds (Indian Springs, Ala./Westminster School), Margot Woolverton (Birmingham, Ala./Vestavia HS), and Marjorie Head (Columbiana, Ala./Shelby County HS) on the women's side, and Justin Peifer (Montgomery, Ala./Saint James School) and Raleigh Schmidt (Madison, Ala./James Clemens HS) for the men.
Reynolds and Elise Pouilly (Geneva, Ill./Geneva HS) are the only seniors on the women's squad. Reynolds finished top 20 at the SAA Championship last year and earned four top 20 finishes total. Justin Peifer (Montgomery, Ala./Saint James School) is the lone senior on the men's team. He ran a season-best time at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Region Championships.
"We have some strong young talent that will have a chance to be a part of our top group throughout the season," Cox added.
Key newcomers to watch will be Megan Rasmussen (Headland, Ala./Providence Christian School) for the women, and Carson Chambliss (Auburn, Ala./Auburn HS) and Peter Toland (Huntsville, Ala./Grissom HS) for the men.
The Panthers open the season in Oxford, Ala. for the Struts Season Opener hosted by Jacksonville State on Friday, Sept. 1. They travel to Oxford twice in 2017 and have stops in Montevallo, Ala., Mississippi, and Georgia.
"The Falcon Classic at Montevallo is going to be an early test, it's a strong early meet," said Cox.
The 2017 SAA Championships will be hosted by Oglethorpe University in Hampton, Ga. on Saturday, Oct. 28. BSC will then look to head to the NCAA regional championships Saturday, Nov. 11 and then on to the national championships on Saturday, Nov. 18.