MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Huntingdon cross country coach Nate
Rucker spent the first week of the preseason trying to gauge the fitness level
of his men’s and women’s teams.
Rucker has been pleased with what he has seen during the
early stages of two-a-days.
“It’s been a good first week,” Rucker said. “I’m really
happy with what I’ve seen from the returning runners. I think we still have
some work to do, but I’m pretty happy with where we are right now.”
With a core group of runners returning for both teams,
Rucker is cautiously optimistic about both teams’ chances of repeating as Great
South Athletic Conference champions.
“We have six of our top seven back on the women’s side and we
return five solid runners on the men’s team,” Rucker said. “All of them were
very instrumental in us winning the conference title last year. We hope to make
another run at the conference title with both teams this year.”
Leading the women’s team is three-time GSAC Runner of the
Year Caitlin McMahon. The senior was an all-region performer in the NCAA South/Southeast
Regional last season.
“This is her last go-around,” Rucker said. “She is a
three-time conference champion. That is something that had never been done
before in the conference. I know trying to win a fourth conference title is one
of her goals, along with trying to be All-Region again. We’ve still got a lot
of work to do for it to happen, but I know she also wants to be a national
qualifier this season.”
On the men’s side, Rucker said Jeff Jenkins looks like the
top contender to replace Kent Hagan as the No. 1 runner. Jenkins was an
All-Conference performer last season.
Both teams start the season at the Sewanee Invitational on
“That will be good for us,” Rucker said. “We haven’t been to
this one before, so hopefully we will see some other good Division III schools
and have some good competition. I think it will benefit us a lot in the long