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Aug 26, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Virginia Cross Country teams both received preseason regional rankings Monday from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Cavalier men are ranked No. 2 in the Southeast Region, while the Cavalier women are No. 6 in the Southeast Region.

“We are very excited for the start of the season,” said Virginia director of track & field/cross country Bryan Fetzer. “These rankings do not mean much prior to the season, only at the end of the season, but they can be motivating as you start the year.”

The men, the reigning Southeast Region champions, are ranked behind Eastern Kentucky in the poll. ACC rivals NC State, Duke and North Carolina round out the top five. The Cavaliers return three runners who scored in last year’s NCAA Southeast Regional Championship: sophomore Kyle King (Yorktown, Va.), junior Drew Paisley (Virginia Beach, Va.) and senior Thomas Porter (Fredericksburg, Va.). Also returning is sophomore Connor Rog (Fairfield, Conn.), the 2012 ACC Freshman of the Year.

“Our veterans came back in great condition and committed themselves this summer to making this a special season,” said Fetzer. “They all stayed in Charlottesville to train together. That kind of leadership will carry the program this season and into the future.”

The women were sixth the poll, behind Duke, William & Mary, NC State, North Carolina and Kentucky. The Cavaliers, who finished eighth at last year’s NCAA Southeast Regional, return five of the six athletes who competed in that meet. Sophomore Audrey Batzel (Virginia Beach, Va.), senior Vicky Fouhy (Buckinghamshire, England), junior Kathleen Stevens (Blacksburg, Va.), senior Barbara Strehler (Richmond, Va.) and senior Katherine Walker (Stafford, Va.) will lead this year’s squad.

“There is a major difference in how our ladies came to camp this year as compared to last year,” said Fetzer. “We spent a few day at Graves Mountain for a preseason camp. It allowed our upperclassmen to establish some relationships with the 10 newcomers. I know we took a lot away from the experience.”

The teams begin the 2013 season on Friday as they host the UVa Duals at Panorama Farms. Both the men’s and women’s teams will run a 4K race against athletes from Liberty and Radford. The men’s race will begin at 5 p.m., and the women’s race will begin at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

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