XC Preview: Bucs take on the field at the VertCross Invitational in final tune-up before Big South Championships

XC Preview: Bucs take on the field at the VertCross Invitational in final tune-up before Big South Championships

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern cross country is back in action this weekend at the VertCross Invitational hosted by High Point University on Friday afternoon in Kernersville, N.C. at the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex. The event is scheduled to start with men's 8k running at 4:30 p.m. The women's 6k will start at 5:15 p.m.

The VertCross Invitational will be the first cross country meet hosted by the Panthers since the 2009 Big South Championship. The meet is named after Dr. Richard "Dick" Vert ('60), an HPU cross country/track & field letter winner and current High Point University Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The course will feature a European-style two-kilometer loop with the men running the loop four times and the women three.

The Friday meet will be Charleston Southern's final tune-up before the 2016 Big South Conference Championships held on October 28 in Asheville, N.C.

Freshman Jeryk Wilson enters the Friday meet coming off of his best finish of the 2016 season. The Athens, Ga. native out-distanced the field and finished the eight-kilometer course in 26:06.07 to take top honors at the S.C. State Bulldog Duels held on October 1 in Santee, S.C.

Fellow freshman Trevor Dominy finished five seconds behind Wilson to take second place at the Bulldog Duels in his first collegiate race of the season. Overall, the Bucs placed four runners in the top 10 and six in the top 20 at the Duels to finish second overall in the team standings. The Bucs only other team finish in the 2016 season came at the opening Carolina Challenge with CSU placing fourth among the field.

On the women's side, senior Madison Burkholder and freshman Kaitlyn Black have provided a 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup with the duo finishing back-to-back in two consecutive races. Burkholder took second overall at the S.C. State Bulldog Duels on October 1 with a time of 21:01.1. Black placed third in with a time of 21:14.9 as the Buccaneers took the team title at the meet. The duo reversed roles at Will Wilson Citadel Invitational with Black (11th) finishing just ahead of Burkholder (12th).

Junior Kaitlyn Keene is coming off of a top-five finish at the Bulldog Duels, while freshman Bethany Thornhill and sophomore Traci Drayton both finished in the top 10 in their best results of the season. The Buccaneers have posted three top-10 finishes as a team and two top-five placements in the 2016 season.

Charleston Southern will be joined by Appalachian State, Campbell, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Davidson (M), Duke, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Elon, Gardner-Webb, George Mason, High Point, Longwood, Marshall, NC State, Northern Kentucky, Radford, Richmond, UNC Asheville, UNC Wilmington, USC Upstate, The Citadel, VMI, Western Carolina, and Wofford in the VertCross field. Non-Division I opponents Bridgewater (M), Fayetteville State, Methodist, and Winston-Salem State (M) will also be among the field on Friday.

Results from the race will be available at following the competition.

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