Cross country steps up to starting line for season

Josh Dean

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Cross country opens up its season Sept. 4 at the Southern Miss Invitational in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The team will race in four different states the 2015 season including Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

J.D. Malone enters the season in his 17th year as head coach of the cross country and track and field programs.

Josh Hayman starts as a graduate assistant coach for cross country and will directly work with the distance runners.

Hayman is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse University where he helped his team to a top five finish at the 2014 Cross Country Championships. He holds a degree in exercise science and minor in psychology.

The men’s side bolsters a new crop of five freshman runners while four return including seniors Andre Brown and Chris Silva and juniors Jonathan Jeffcoat and Lane Perilloux.

The women welcome seven returners including seniors Rebecca Dark, Teona Cave and Brianna Reid, junior Brittany Garrison and sophomores Baillie Cunningham and Josie Wood.

Preseason polling places the men to finish eighth in the Sun Belt Conference and the women to finish 11th.

This reflects the finishes the Warhawks had at the 2014 SBC Championships.

Jonathan Jeffcoat helped lead the charge at the championships on the men’s side posting a time of 27:40.3 to score.

Rebecca Dark led the women with a time of 20:18.2 and a 63rd place finish. Teona Cave and Josie Wood placed 64 and 66, respectively.

The Warhawks will race in three meets after the Southern Miss Invitational before traveling to Atlanta, Georgia for the 2015 Sunbelt Conference Championships on Nov. 1. Qualifiers will attend the NCAA South Central Regionals on Nov. 13 at College Station in Texas.