The boys and girls Cross Country teams will look to make a statement Saturday at the Gulf South Championship race in Birmingham, Ala. Last season the men finished tied for fourth and the women finished sixth.
The boys are led by Jesse Prince, Junior from Bonaire, Georgia who has finished first on the team for the Blazers in all four races this season.
“We did some pretty hefty workouts last week and this week we are tapering down so our legs will be well rested for the race,” Prince said. “Today [Wednesday] we are doing eight 400’s when we usually do 16 so we’re taking it back a bit.”
The rest of the team is led by Nate Wondimu, freshman from Lawrenceville and Parker Childree, senior from Valdosta who have finished second and third for the Blazers this year.
Defending champion Alabama-Huntsville is the favorite to win the meet again this season but junior runner Ryan Beaudry is confident the team will improve on the fourth place finish from last season.
“Our goal is always to win,” we finished fourth last year and our goal this year is to obviously do a lot better than that,” Beaudry said. “I definitely think we are in a good position to do that.”
The Lady Blazers are led by last week’s GSC runner of the week Juliana Boehm. Boehm came to VSU from Hirschberg, Germany to play tennis. This year was her first year running for the Lady Blazers and she has finished first for VSU in every race and first individually in two out of four races.
“Juliana is our best girl and she has a great chance to win Conference individually on Saturday,” Beaudry said. Finishing sixth out of eight in the Championship last season, the girls have a much better chance at finishing top two with Boehm. They will also need a strong run from Ashley Luther who has finished second for the Blazers in every race.
In the women’s race, West Florida is the favorite to take the title with Alabama-Huntsville projected to finish second.
The GSC Championship will be one of the Blazers last races of the season, with only the NCAA South Regional in Tampa following it. This being only the third year that VSU has had a Cross Country team, both the boys and girls have improved every year. Saturday they will hope to do the same and show what this program can be in many years to come.