The UVa-Wise cross country teams are looking to make a statement in their final season in the Mountain East Conference before joining the South Atlantic Conference in 2019.
“I think we have a lot to prove this year,” Head Coach Sarah Smith Carlson said. “It’s our last year in the Mountain East Conference so I would like to go out with a bang, because I think they have a good shot at doing some good stuff this year.”
After both the men’s and women’s teams finished last year in seventh place at the Mountain East Championships, they were recently ranked seventh in the conference preseason polls. When asked about the polls, Smith Carlson said that it gives the team motivation to perform even better.
“Yeah I think it always [puts a chip on our shoulder],” she said. “I feel pretty strong about both teams this year. We have a solid men’s squad, and there are a lot of returners on the men’s side so I think they’ll be pretty strong. On the women’s team, we’re a little bit younger, but we have a lot of great talent, so I think they have a good shot at doing well this year.”
The Cavaliers delayed their season opener when the Aug. 30 Golden Eagle Invitational in Charleston, West Virginia. was cancelled. Last year at the Golden Eagle Invitational, the men’s team finished second with an average time of 21:44 while the women’s team finished third with an average time of 27:59.