Cross Country Teams To Open Season On Friday
NC State’s men’s and women’s cross country teams will kick off their 2006 seasons on Friday, September 15, at the Raleigh Invitational, which will be held at the SAS Complex in Cary, N.C. The men’s race will begin at 4:30 p.m, followed by the women’s race at 5 p.m.
The Wolfpack will use the Raleigh Invitational more as a barometer than as a milepost. The men’s race will feature teams from Campbell, Hampton, Norfolk State, Methodist, North Carolina A&T, Shaw, St. Augustine’s and St. Paul’s. The women’s race will include the same teams plus the team from Meredith College.
“We’re running in two-week cycles,” Geiger said. “Our first serious competition will be the Notre Dame Invitational in two weeks (Sept, 29). We’ll use the race this weekend as kind of a check to see where our conditioning and our preparation are as we get ready for the trip to Notre Dame.”
The NC State men enter the 2006 season looking to atone for a third-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005. Head coach Rollie Geiger welcomes back three all-conference performers who redshirted in 2005 — 2004 All-American Bobby Mack, 2004 ACC Rookie of the Year Gavin Coombs, and 2004 All-ACC runner Wesley Smith. Mack and Smith are juniors this season, Coombs a sophomore. They will join a returning nucleus led by junior John Crews, who earned All-ACC and All-NCAA Southeast Regional honors on his way to winning an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, where he missed All-America honors by a matter of a few seconds.
The quartet of Coombs, Crews, Mack and Smith gives NC State a potent nucleus to build around, and there is talent to put around that big four. Heralded redshirt-freshmen John Martinez and Robert Bedsole, and veteran returnees Chris Kollar, Tibor Vegh, Freddy Torres and Stephen Furst provide Geiger a host of talented options as he builds his starting seven for 2006. Kollar, Furst and Vegh are juniors. Torres is a sophomore.