STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the second year in a row, the Mississippi State men’s and women’s cross country teams will open the season at the Memphis Twilight on Saturday.
Last year in Memphis, the Bulldogs took home first place in both sides, with former MSU runnerclaiming first for the men.
This year, according to the SEC preseason polls, the women’s team is picked to finish sixth, while the men’s team is projected at 11th. The women’s team is also ranked No. 31 by Flotrack.
The women are set to begin the Memphis Twilight at 9:20 p.m. with the men following at 10 p.m. The meet is hosted by Christian Brothers University and will take place at Mike Rose Stadium.
MSU and Ole Miss will be the only SEC schools competing in the Memphis Twilight.
The women return eight veteran runners and welcome four newcomers. The men’s team also returns eight runners and welcomes four freshmen.
Leading the women is senior Emma Neigel, who earned a new personal best of 21:32.22 in the SEC Championship 6K last season.
Cornelia Griesche returns for her junior campaign with the Bulldogs, after claiming 23rd with a time of 20:49.78 in the NCAA South Regional to end the 2013 season. Griesche competed in three regular season meets as well as the SEC and NCAA South Championships last season for the Maroon and White.
Sophomore Rhianwedd Price also returns for the Bulldogs. Price finished her freshman campaign with a 12th-place finish in the NCAA South Regional Championships at 20:33.58.
“I’m looking forward to the season to begin,” Price said. “Training has been going very well. Runs have been very good, and I am looking forward to the race this weekend as well as working with the new freshman athletes on the team.”
One of the newcomers is Mia Meydrich, who was the 2013 Louisiana District 9-5A Cross Country champion during her senior year at St. Mary’s Dominican High School. She was named the 2013 Times-Picayune Female Cross Country Runner of the Year and the 2013 Advocate Most Outstanding Female Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Returners on the men’s side include senior Damian Roszko, who finished 12th in the 2013 NCAA South Regional recording a time of 30:26.34.
“I feel good overall about the upcoming season,” Roszko said. “I feel I’m going to run better than last season and be stronger this season”
Junior Patrick Monaghan earned a new personal best in the 2013 SEC Championship 8K at 25:32.58. Patrick recorded a new four mile best (22:30.74) in the Memphis Twilight.
Patrick’s twin brother, Andrew, also returns for his junior season with the Maroon and White. Andrew recorded his personal best last season in the Crimson Classic 8K with a time of 25:41.09.
Both the men and women ended the 2013 season with a pair of seventh-place finishes in the NCAA South Regional to end the 2013 campaign.
For more information of the cross country teams visit www.hailstate.com or follow on Twitter (@HailstateTF).