JMU Men's Cross Country Aims To Build On Last Year's Success

Senior Ted Herbert paces the Dukes into the 2004 JMU cross country season.

HARRISONBURG, Va. (9/10/04) -- The James Madison University men's cross country team strides into the 2004 season with a very experienced and talented group of young harriers led by sixth-year head coach Dave Rinker. A year ago, the Dukes won the program's first Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) Championship, and six of the top eight from that unit along with one very important red-shirted runner return.

Seniors Ted Herbert (Virginia Beach, Va./Cox) and Evan Kays (Batesville, Ark./Stuarts Draft-Va.) and sophomore C.W. Moran (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) are the top returning runners from last fall.

In addition to the IC4A title, the group was instrumental in an overall successful 2003. The JMU Open was won by the hosts, and the Dukes went on to place third among 33 teams in the Paul Short Invitational. The Dukes finished second in the Colonial Athletic Association race and came in sixth among the 23 teams at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships in Greenville, N.C.

Herbert earned All-East honors with his 11th-place ranking in the IC4A race at Van Cortland Park in New York. He was the Dukes' lead runner in both the Paul Short Invitational and Pre-Nationals. He also placed 11th in the CAA meet, earning All-CAA honors in the process.

"After very big indoor and outdoor track seasons last year, Ted is poised to make the next jump as one of the top runners in the conference and move into all-region contention," said Rinker.

Kays aims to return to the form of this sophomore season, when he was the Dukes' top finisher in both the CAA (fifth) and regional (32nd) championships. Last year he repeated his All-CAA laurel with an eighth-place finish, but slipped to 56th in the region. He did not compete in the IC4A championships.

"Although Evan had a sub-par 2003 fall after a very good 2002 season, he still consistently ran in the top five, he just never popped the really big race. After a good summer of training, Evan is positioned to have the best cross country season he has ever had," stated Rinker.

Moran was the top freshman at the IC4A race, placing 17th overall in a field of 141 runners. "C.W. had a very good first fall for JMU as he consistently ran in the top five and was the top freshman in several races," said Rinker.

Juniors Josiah Cadle (Charlottesville, Va./Western Albemarle), Nick Noe (Charlottesville, Va./Albemarle), and Travis Lambert (Charlottesville, Va./Albemarle) all have experience running in the top five for JMU and will be counted on to give the team depth and experience. Noe and Cadle made considerable improvements last year, but were derailed by injuries at times during the 2003-04 academic year.

Sophomores Bryan Buckland (Centreville, Westfield) and Ted Stevenson (Hartford, Conn./William H. Hall) will benefit from their on-the-job training as freshmen when both participated in five races. Stevenson's top outing was a 10th-place finish in the JMU Open, and he was in the middle of the pack in the CAA race. Buckland was one place behind Stevenson in the JMU Open and was also in the middle of the CAA finishers. Rinker expects the experience gained in 2003 to evolve into contributions in 2004.

Allen Carr (Yorktown, Va./York) is a junior in eligibility and will be the wild card on the team. Two seasons ago, Carr was one of the top five runners on the team, but he was sidelined for the 2003 cross country season with an injury.

"Allen is back and running better than ever," said Rinker. "While Allen is primarily a middle-distance runner during the track season, he will be counted on as one of the team leaders in cross country."

Freshmen James Printz (Winchester, Va./James Wood), Andrew Waring (Vienna, Va./James Madison) and Stephen Best (Herndon, Va./Oakton) could all make an impact as first-year runners. Printz placed sixth in the Virginia High School League Group AA Championships, leading the James Wood Colonels to a second-place team finish in 2003. Waring finished second in the Liberty District last fall, and Best helped lead Oakton to a third-place finish in the Group AAA Championships.

"James has the most high school accomplishments and comes from a program that trained at a higher mileage and seems most ready to make a run at the top seven," acknowledged Rinker.

The Dukes will again blend a mix of state races with events in such locales at Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Coach Rinker will send "B" teams to start the season in the Georgetown Invitational on Sept. 11 before the Dukes host the JMU Open, Sept. 18 at the historic New Market Battlefield. The course will also be the site for the 2004 CAA Championships. Other schedule highlights include the Minnesota Griak Invitational, Penn State National Invitational and the IC4A Championships.