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Men's Cross Country/Track and Field

August 28, 2006

Eagles host Alumni Opener to open cross country season

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana opens its 2006 men's and women's cross country season Friday when it hosts the USI Alumni Opener. Teams competing with the Screaming Eagles in Friday's meet include Southeast Missouri State University, Spalding University (women only), Bellarmine University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, and Rend Lake College.

USI's men are looking to repeat as GLVC champions as they return three of their top four runners from last year in senior Rey Alvarez (Danville, Illinois), junior Paul Jellema (Dyer, Indiana), and Tim Sirbek (Hammond, Indiana). Alvarez, Jellema, and Sirbek, also represent three of the top four returning individuals from the 2005 GLVC Championship.

Alvarez was second at the 2005 GLVC Championships a year ago while Jellema and Sirbek were fifth and sixth, respectively, at the league meet in 2005. Sirbek also was the GLVC Freshman of the Year for his effort.

Returning runners in the chase for the top seven include senior Tristan Mannix (Crothersville, Indiana), juniors Sam Gebreselassie (Avon, Indiana) and Justin Thomas (Indianapolis, Indiana), and sophomore Joe Rayman (West Lafayette, Indiana).

Also challenging for the top seven is a talented list of newcomers that includes freshmen Robert Becker (Valparaiso, Indiana), Brandon Campbell (Portage, Indiana), Jeremy Davies (Portage, Indiana), Forrest Foellinger (Ft. Wayne, Indiana), Andrew Menner (Greenwood, Indiana), and Matt Zielske (Elkhart, Indiana).

USI's women will count on their veterans this fall. Senior Missy Burgin (Sellersburg, Indiana) is one of the top contenders for the GLVC individual title in 2006, while sophomore Allison Shafer (Plainville, Indiana) was the GLVC Freshman of the Year after finishing 10th at the conference championships in 2005.

While Burgin and Shafer will compete, individually, for a conference title in October, Head Coach Mike Hillyard expects sophomore Christy Dixon (Owensboro, Kentucky) to push both runners for the top spot in October after an injury hampered her freshman season.

Other key returnees in 2006 are senior Carrie Leimberger (Indianapolis, Indiana) juniors Megan Scheidler (Moores Hill, Indiana) and Brittany Stellhorn (Kokomo, Indiana) sophomores Kathy Goebel (Evansville, Indiana), Kate Powell (Columbus, Indiana), and Marcia Weflen (Rossville, Indiana) and red-shirt freshman Lacy Williams (Haubstadt, Indiana). Stellhorn was the GLVC Champion in the 10,000 meters in outdoor track last spring.

In addition to the veterans, Hillyard believes he has brought in what may be his best recruiting class ever. Key additions include junior Katie McKinney (Evansville, Indiana) and freshmen Lauren Crick (Evansville, Indiana), Samantha Eliason (Crawfordsville, Indiana), Leslee Getts (Corunna, Indiana), Danielle Glick (Hemlock, Indiana), and Sarah Whiteman (Bloomington, Indiana).

The Eagles compete at the Indiana Intercollegiate in Terre Haute, Indiana, September 15, and the GLVC Championships in Edwardsville, Illinois, October 21.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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