@AU_TrackXC Opens 2018 Season at Bison Open

Alaeldin Tirba, Ben Doiron, Matthew Rainey, Liam Purdy at the Mount St. Mary's Duals

WASHINGTON – The American University men's and women's cross country teams will take the line for the first time this season on Friday at Bucknell's Bison Open in Lewisburg, Pa. 

ABOUT THE MEET

  • Location - Bucknell University Cross Country Course (Lewisburg, Pa.)
  • 5:30 p.m. - Women's 4k
  • 6:00 p.m. - Men's 6k
  • Teams - American, Bucknell, Cornell (men), Juniata (Division III), Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola (Md.), Lycoming (Division III), Navy (women), Penn, Susquehanna (Division III) 

NOTES

  • The meet will serve as a preview for the six Patriot League teams in attendance as Bucknell is slated to host the 2018 Patriot League Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27.
  • The Eagles will also meet six other NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region teams with Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola (Md.), Navy and Penn. AU was ranked 12th in the region's preseason poll on the men's side while the women were voted 13th.
  • The AU women were sixth at the PL Championship meet last season while the men finished fourth.
  • The Eagles return all but two of their postseason competitors, including All-Patriot League finisher senior Adriana Hooks who was fourth at the conference championship meet last season.
  • Another key returner on the women's side includes senior Brianna Belo, who continued making history on the track last season with yet another 800-meter school record at the NCAA Championships East Preliminary Round (2:07.06) after becoming only the third woman in program history to qualify for the outdoor national championship meet. Belo returns for one final season in the red, white and blue as a graduate student in health promotion.
  • Other names to look for on the women's squad include sophomore Shelbi Wuss, junior Arianna Lopez, and senior Kassidy Ayres, who were all top-five finishers for the Eagles last season.
  • On the men's side, seniors Matthew Rainey and Ben Doiron will return to lead the Eagles after earning Second Team All-Patriot League finishes last season. Rainey went on to earn an All-Mid-Atlantic Region honor on the cross country course before joining Belo at the NCAA Championships East Preliminary Round during the outdoor track season. Rainey became the fifth AU man in program history to qualify for the meet after hitting the sixth-fastest 1,500-meter time in program history (3:45.7) earlier in the season.
  • Liam Purdy, a three-time Patriot League champion on the track, will also return for one final season as a graduate student in health promotion management.
  • The Eagles also welcome four freshmen for the 2018 season with Clare Hernandez and Elise Hooker on the women's team, and Aidan Caggiano and Miguel Dickenson on the men's. 

#AUXC STARTING LINE - WOMEN
Kassidy Ayres (Sr.) // Brianna Belo (Gr.) // Katelyn Deibler (Jr.) // Clare Hernandez (Fr.) // Emily Houghton (Jr.) // Adriana Hooks (Sr.) // Elise Hooker (Fr.) // Arianna Lopez (Jr.) // Kaitlyn McTernan (Jr.) // Shelbi Wuss (So.)

#AUXC STARTING LINE – MEN
Caleb Brown (Jr.) // Aidan Caggiano (Fr.) // Faolan Coogan Pluck (Jr.) // Gerard D'Ambrosio III (Jr.) // Miguel Dickenson (Fr.) // Justin Dignan (Jr.) // Ben Doiron (Sr.) // Max Lustig (So.) // John Pagliaro (So.) // Liam Purdy (Gr.) // Matthew Rainey (Sr.) // Michael Weidenbruch (So.)

For the latest on American University Cross Country, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.