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Cumberland women picked third in MSC preseason poll — Men fourth

Staff Reports • Aug 29, 2018 at 3:17 PM

Cumberland women’s cross country earned a third-place showing in the Mid-South Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll released last week by the league office.

Fourth-year head coach Jim Seckel returns an experience roster with seniors Taylor Blankenship and Claudia Tepox as well as juniors Riley Kilian, Gavin DuVall and Amber Mays. Junior Abby Gawthorp also transferred from Iowa Central Community College.

Blankenship earned the program’s first-ever individual berth into the NAIA Championships last fall after placing 10th in the Mid-South Conference Championships. Tepox, Mays and sophomore Anna Grose all placed in the top 20 in last year’s conference meet as well.

“With the depth of our team right now, seven of nine girls run under 20 minutes in 5K and we’ve never had that kind of depth before,” Seckel said. “We’ve really strengthened our team with some new additions. With our ability to train as a pack this year, we think we’re good enough to challenge for the top of the conference.”

The Phoenix will begin the 2018 season this Saturday at the BROOKS Memphis Twilight hosted by Christian Brothers at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis.

Men fourth

Cumberland men’s cross country was picked fourth in the Mid-South Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll released last week by the league office.

Fourth-year head coach Jim Seckel returns all of his runners from a year ago, a team that had no seniors, including sophomores Joel Barlow and Nate Mihnovich as well as senior Chris Swann, who all finished in the top 20 at the Mid-South Conference Championships last fall.

Seniors Carlos Tirado and Michael Rogers along with Jerry Rojas join six underclassmen on the roster.

“What’s going to make a difference for us this season is having second front-runner in Cornelius [Kipchumba]. He’s leading every practice,” Seckel said. “We have Joel with a year under his belt but now we have two guys who can run up front and we’ve never had that before. We’re trying to build and sustain the program and this is certainly a positive step in that direction.”

The Phoenix will begin the 2018 season this Saturday at the BROOKS Memphis Twilight hosted by Christian Brothers at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis.

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