Clemson hosting ACC cross country championships

Alyssa Kulik leads the Clemson women in their 6K cross country race in the Clemson invitational at Musser Farms.

Photo by Mark Crammer

Alyssa Kulik leads the Clemson women in their 6K cross country race in the Clemson invitational at Musser Farms.

— Clemson will play host to the ACC Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Musser Farms course. It will be the first time since 2001 that Clemson has held the ACC’s cross country championship meet, and it will also be the first time the event will be held at Clemson’s new course. The men’s 8,000-meter race will begin at 10:00 AM, followed by the women’s 6,000-meter competition at 11:00. The awards ceremony will follow the conclusion of the women’s race.

Musser Farms has played host to the Clemson Invitational each of the past two seasons. The Tiger women won that championship earlier this season by defeating a ranked Florida State team. Since that time, the Seminole women have ascended atop the national rankings in the coaches poll following their Pre-Nationals victory two weeks ago. Clemson itself earned a No. 30 national ranking on Oct. 4. The Tigers will face a stiff challenge on Saturday, as Florida State is one of five nationally-ranked teams heading to town.

The other nationally-ranked women’s teams competing Saturday are Virginia (No. 17), NC State (No. 21), North Carolina (No. 22) and Boston College (No. 24). Duke, ranked ninth in the preseason by the coaches, is on the cusp of a national ranking in the receiving votes column. Clemson is not ranked in the latest coaches poll, but the Tigers are No. 5 in the Southeast Region for the second consecutive week. The Tigers were as high as third in the region in the Oct. 3 and Oct. 10 polls.

The women’s program has been led by four consistent performers this fall, including a trio of standouts that hail from Upstate South Carolina. Alyssa Kulik (Simpsonville, SC) has been the team’s top finisher in each of the last three meets, all against a formidable schedule. She was fourth at the Clemson Invitational in September, and then followed with a solid 23rd-place outing at Notre Dame two weeks later. Kim Ruck (Greer, SC) was fifth at the Clemson Invitational and was the team’s No. 3 runner at Notre Dame and No. 4 at Wisconsin two weeks ago. Kate Borowicz (Greenville, SC) has come on as of late, running No. 2 overall on the roster at both Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

The non-South Carolina native of the group, Natalie Anthony (Randolph, NJ), has been outstanding in 2011. She led the team at the Eye Opener to start the season, followed with a top 10 at the Clemson meet, and then has scored third or fourth each of the last two meets for the Tigers.

The men’s team will also face an outstanding group of schools. Florida State enters the meet with a No. 18 national ranking, followed by NC State (19th) in the latest poll. North Carolina (No. 30) also is nationally-ranked heading into Saturday’s meet.

The Tiger men’s team has been paced all season long by sophomore Ty McCormack. The native of Gainesville, GA looks to rebound from a disappointing finish at the Wisconsin Invitational two weeks ago this weekend. He won the Clemson Invitational on the Musser Farms course back in September, and also performed well when the Tigers went to Notre Dame later that month. Aaron Ramirez and Jonathan Sunde have also shown flashes this season for the Tigers. Sunde placed 39th at the ACC Championships in 2008 as a sophomore.

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