Cross Country Opens 2009 Season Friday at Baltimore Metro Invitational

Sept. 3, 2009

The Loyola men's and women's cross country team open their 2009 season Friday, September 4 at the 27th Annual Baltimore Metro Invitational at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, MD. The meet is hosted by Towson University and both men's and women's races will be 5K (3.1 miles) in length. Men's races will typically be 8K (5 miles) while women's races will usually be 6K (3.7 miles) later in the fall season.

The men's race is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. while the women will take off at 4:45 p.m.

Also competing will be the host Tigers, Johns Hopkins, Coppin State, Goucher, McDaniel, Hood, Stevenson, Morgan State, the Community College of Baltimore and Harford Community College. The Blue Jays of Johns Hopkins won both team titles in 2008, while the Greyhounds men finished second and the women placed fourth.

Sophomore Jonathan Verrengia was Loyola's top men's finisher at the Metro last year taking sixth place overall in 16:24. He also is expected to run this year as are the rest of the freshman and sophomore class.

The women were led last year by now-junior Amanda Bossi in last year's competition.

2009 Season Outlook
After finishing fourth at both the men's and women's MAAC Championships in 2008, head coach Rick Woods is optimistic about the potential both of his squads have for the 2009 season. The men will be led by senior captains Terry Moran and Dan McDevitt, while junior Katie Cervo and senior co-captain Courtney McNamara are expected to lead the women.

The men's squad, which has never finished higher than 4th at the MAAC Championships, was disappointed with last year's conference finish and know that they missed a major opportunity to show that they are among the elite teams in the MAAC. A solid group of eight runners competing for the top five scoring spots should improve the Greyhounds' chances.

Rounding out the top five men are expected to be junior Steve Febish, junior Tim Burns and junior Kieran Dowling. The trio rounding out the top five have been said to have had great summer seasons and came back to campus in incredible shape.

Expected to push for scoring spots will be sophomores Jonathan Verrengia and Matthew Hassett and freshman DJ Puleo.

While Cervo and McNamara provide veteran leadership upfront, the remainder of the scorers for Loyola might very well be a group of sophomores.

Sophomores Emily Doucette, Stephanie Gibney and Brittney Gibbons are expected to be in the top five and should be pushed by juniors Amanda Bossi, Alyssa Doyle, who is coming off a stress fracture injury, and Sara Ochs who has shown enough potential to make her coaches believe that this might be her best season yet.

The future of the women's program also looks bright with freshmen Margaret Larkin and Jackie D'Antonio looking to lead a group of seven newcomers.

Following the Battle of Baltimore, Loyola will make trips to the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Md., and the Iona Meet of Champions. The meet hosted by Iona is held at Van Cordtlandt Park, which is rated as one of the tougher courses in the country. Two weeks later, the team will compete in the Brooks Pre-Nationals in Terra Haute, IN which will match up Loyola against several of the nation's best. Pre-Nats will also be the final tune-up before the MAAC Championships on October 30 and the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on November 14. The ECAC/IC4A Championships are held a week after in the Bronx on November 21, just two days before the NCAA Championships in Terra Haute.