Gamecock Cross Country Sets Sights On Season Opener

JACKSONVILLE – Jacksonville State's men's and women's cross country team reported to campus on Monday with their sights set on the first competition of the season on Friday, Sept. 2 on its home course.

Veteran JSU Head Coach Steve Ray will have a host of new faces this year on both the men's and women's squads, but likes the fact that he has a pair of individuals that will be counted on for leadership. Junior Ericka Stam was a top-five finisher last season at the Ohio Valley Conference Championship on the women's side, while junior Matt Brick will bolster the men's contingent.

The Jax State women were picked fifth by the OVC coaches, while the Gamecock men were tabbed eighth. Last season, the women's squad posted a program-best fourth at the league championship meet. Ray likes his squad's chances of improving those preseason prognostications by the league's coaches.

JSU's 2011 season will get underway on Friday, Sept. 2 as it hosts the annual JSU/Struts Season Opener in Oxford, Ala. The short course layout will be at the Oxford Lake. The Gamecocks will also serve as host of the JSU Foothills Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Highlighting the Gamecocks' season will be trips to Nashville, Tenn. to compete in the Vanderbilt Invitational and taking part in the Alabama Crimson Classic in October. The OVC Championships will be held on Oct. 29 in Richmond, Ky.