Roadrunners to host DSC's first Cross-Country meet at Prater's M - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Roadrunners to host DSC's first Cross-Country meet at Prater's Mill

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DALTON, GA  ( --Dalton State cross country teams will open the 2015 season on Friday, September 4th, hosting their first ever local meet.  

The Dalton State Twilight Cross Country Classic will begin with a 5K women’s event at 5:00 p.m. and end with an 8K men’s race at 6:00 p.m.
“We are very excited to host the first Dalton State cross country meet,” Roadrunner Co-Coach Andy Meyer announced Friday. “The course is set at Prater’s Mill. Thanks to the generosity of the Borings and Prater’s Mill Foundation, we have developed a true European style course.”
“The course is spectator friendly with a great finish view,” accordingly to Meyer. “The teams that have committed to this meet will be bringing some great runners including the NAIA 10,000 meter National Champ. This will be a great chance for our residents to come and view elite athletes competing at a wonderful and scenic venue.”
All of the participating teams are from the SSAC. Women’s teams include defending conference champions Dalton State, Brenau (from Gainesville, Ga.), William Carey (from Hattiesburg, Ms.), Bethel University (from McKenzie, Tn.), Loyola of New Orleans, the University of Mobile and Auburn Montgomery. Men’s teams to participate include defending SSAC Champs William Carey, Dalton State, Bethel, Loyola of New Orleans, the University of Mobile and Auburn Montgomery. William Carey’s Jeoffrey Kipchumba of Kenya is the defending SSAC individual XC champion and defending NAIA 10,000 meter champ.  
Last year’s Dalton State women’s team captured the Southern States Athletics Conference Championship in their first year of post season eligibility. The men’s team was only three points away from a conference championship. Meyer and Co-Coach Margie Bruner were named SSAC Women’s Coaches of the Year.
Roadrunner teams are participating in five meets this fall leading up to the conference championship on November 6th at Choctaw Trails in Clinton, Ms. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics meet will move this year to McAlpine Park in Charlotte, NC on November 21st. 
“We are looking forward to duplicating and surpassing our achievements from last year,” said Meyer. “We are aiming for SSAC Championships and high national rankings. Our women hope to defend their conference title. We have our top seven runners back plus the addition of outstanding local talent Emily Poole (from Heritage High in Ringgold) and Ashleigh Parham (Dalton High). Emily could immediately compete as one of our top one or two girls.”
The Dalton State men’s team is returning the top five runners. “With the addition of transfer student DeCosta Smith and freshman Cole Thornton, we will be even stronger,” said Meyer. “Instead of four guys under 26:00 minutes, we should have seven or eight under that mark this year. We lost the conference championship by three points last year. Our objective this year is to redeem that result.”   
Smith is a junior from Union Grove High School in McDonough, Ga. who signed with the University of Alabama out of high school and attended Savannah State, but didn’t run, last school year.  
Thornton is a freshman from North Oconee High School. Similar to Northwest Whitfield products Brody and Parker Cook, Thornton is an accomplished runner who will take advantage of the Regents Engineering Transfer Program that allows students to complete needed math, science and engineering courses at Dalton State before transferring to Georgia Tech.
“I’ll be there three years for that program, and then I’ll transfer to Tech,” Thornton said. “Then I can get two degrees - one from Dalton, one from Tech.”
North Oconee Coach Ralph Moore has high praise for his former runner. “Cole could get into any university he would want academically,” said Moore. He had several good options and I think this one just seemed like the ideal mix.”
After the meet at Prater’s Mill, Dalton State makes a repeat appearance at the University of North Georgia Invitational in Gainesville on September 19th. Roadrunner cross country teams go to the Greater Louisville Classic at E.P. ‘Tom’ Sawyer Park in Louisville on October 3rd. They compete October 9th in the NAIA National Preview Meet at McAlpine Park in Charlotte and finish up the regular season on October 24th in the University of South Carolina at Beaufort’s Sand Shark Invitational in Hardeeville, SC.  

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