Mocs add three all-staters and transfer to bolster squad.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The Running Mocs will start the 2010 season of competition with the annual PowerAde Invitational Friday evening at the Moccasin Bend Race Course. The women's 2-mile race will begin at 5:45 p.m. followed by the men's 5K at 6:15 p.m.
The men's roster will feature several strong veterans and a group of newcomers who will add depth to an already strong lineup. The Mocs return two-time Southern Conference Runner of the Year Emmanuel Kirwa for his senior season. Kirwa was the Peach Belt Conference Runner of the Year prior to transferring to Chattanooga.
Returning to the lineup after a redshirt season is all-conference performer junior Chris Berry. Berry was the 2007 SoCon Freshman of the Year and finished third in the league championships as a sophomore. Kyle McLarty and Mark Cole, SoCon All-Freshman Team members will bolster the lineup. Senior David Moore returns to the course for the Mocs with three strong seasons behind him as does junior Joshue Vasquez, the 2008 SoCon Freshman of the Year.
Gautier has added a trio of freshmen and a transfer to the lineup as the Mocs look to claim a fifth SoCon Cross Country title.
Leading the trio of newcomers is two-time all-stater John Gilpin, a freshman from Martin Luther King, Jr., High School in Nashville. Gilpin's cross country team claimed the state title in both 2008 and 2009. As a state qualifier for the state track meet, Gilpin posted personal records in both the 800 meter (1 :59.6) and the 1600 meter (4:26).
"We're very happy he's here," UTC Head Coach Bill Gautier said. "He comes from a very strong academic background at Martin Luther King, Jr., and he is a strong runner who will add depth to the program."
Austin Long comes from another top academic school in the University School of Jackson (USJ). The freshman, running his first-ever season of track, earned all-state honors in the 3200 meter run at the 2010 state meet with a seventh place finish. Long was a two-year team captain for cross country and a state qualifier in the event.
Rounding out the trio is Drew Austell, also a two-time all-state honoree. After winning the 800m in the region, he finished sixth in the event at the state tournament. He was the runner-up in the 1600 meter race at the region race and earned all-state honors with a seventh place finish at the state finals.
Also added to this lineup is sophomore transfer Nathan Wanuch who comes to Chattanooga from Brock University in Ontario, Canada. He was coached by former Chattanooga standout runner Curtis Gadula, a SoCon Champion in 2002 in both indoor and outdoor track. While at UTC the Mocs either won the SoCon tilte or finished second in cross country.
Wanuch posted three Top 20 finishes in cross country and had a successful 2010 track campaign that included a Bronze medal at the provincial championships in the 3000 meter and personal records in the 1500 meter and the 3000 meter Steeplechase.
"I'm excited Nathan had a great freshman year with quality coaching," Gautier said.
While the men's cross country team added several newcomers the Lady Mocs are a senior-laden team led by Anneli Uys and Tara Gietema. Uys finished third at the 2009 SoCon championships while Gietema redshirted the year. She was fifth in the 2008 championships and led the Lady Mocs to a third straight title.
Joining this duo is sophomore Heather Stuive who was named to both the All-Conference and inaugural All-Freshman teams with a sixth place finish.
Seniors Shelley Taylor, Lauren Anderson and Meredith White round out a strong veteran roster along with sophomores Kathryn Stuart, Mary Cumbee and Morgan Buchanan. Taylor earned all-conference honors in the SoCon Championships her sophomore season with a Top 10 finish while Anderson's finish at the 2009 league championships earned the Lady Mocs the title.
The men's cross country team was selected to finish third at the 2010 conference finals and a preseason No. 11 in the South Region by the USTFCCCA. The women's team was selected to finish fifth in the league finals and 15th in the South Region preseason poll ahead of league favorite Samford.
The PowerAde will feature both Chattanooga teams as well as competitors from Alabama (men only), Austin Peay, Covenant College, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Middle Tennessee, Tennessee State (women only) UAH and West Georgia.
Admission is free to the public.