BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern men's and women's cross country teams are rebuilding and using youth to propel them back to the top of the Southern Athletic Association. With only one senior between the two teams, the Panthers are looking to the underclassmen for the spark and veterans to lead the way.
"We have a young team," said Head Coach Kenneth Cox. "Our focus for this cross country season will be to grow together as one unit."
Margot Woolverton (Birmingham, Ala./Vestavia HS) and Marjorie Head (Columbiana, Ala./Shelby County HS) are going to be key on the women's side. Wolverton is the only senior on a team full of juniors. Head was named Second-Team All-SAA after placing 10th overall at the championship and was BSC's top finisher.
"[Margot and Marjorie] have improved each season," Cox said. "Marjorie has been one of our top runners at the conference level and also at the regional level."
Sophomore Carson Chambliss (Auburn, Ala./Auburn HS) is one of the Panthers to watch on the men's side. He competed in four races last year, including a top 20 finish at the JSU Struts Cross Country Invitational. Another key returner for the men will be junior Raleigh Schmidt (Madison, Ala./James Clemens HS).
"Carson had a positive freshman year and continued that on throughout winter and spring training," said Cox. "We are expecting him to take a leadership role within our program. Raleigh has really been working hard over the past two years. Those two guys will be good leaders for our men."
Top newcomers include Alvin Finch (Homewood, Ala./Homewood HS), Lucas Lamb (Homewood, Ala./Homewood HS), and Beck Wilkes (Winfield, Ala./Winfield HS). Finch and Lamb were teammates at Homewood High School. And Wilkes had a stellar career at Winfield High School.
"All three of these young men come from a solid program within their high schools and helped contribute to the success of those programs," Cox said of the trio. "We're looking forward to them doing the same thing at BSC."
BSC opens the 2018 season at the JSU Struts Season Opener Friday, Aug. 31. They return to Alabama for the UAB Blazer Classic on Friday, Oct. 12 in their last meet before the SAA Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27.