Big win leads to high expectations

After a successful Pirate Invitational, ECU’s cross country team heads to Charlotte to compete against over 30 teams. -Meredith Baker | The East Carolinian

The ECU cross-country team will head into the Charlotte Cross Country Invitational with high expectations and a lot of momentum after a dominant performance in the Pirate Invitational.

The Charlotte Cross Country Invitational is a meet hosted by the UNC-Charlotte 49ers. The event will be one of the largest in the southeast for the entire season, with over 30 teams participating. Many of the top 20 teams in the nation will be there.

For the athletes, it will be an opportunity to compete at a high level of competition.

“[This is] a chance to do a really big meet and get some real competition,” said Bjork Olsen. For the men’s team, it will be their first opportunity to run an eight-kilometer race in competition and the women will be running a six-kilometer race for the first time this season.

This will be the fifth annual Charlotte invitational and will be held at McAlpine Creek Park. The races will begin at 3 p.m. on September 28.

The Pirates will be riding high into the upcoming event in Charlotte after a dominating performance in their only home meet of the season. The Pirates won both the men’s and women’s races, taking firstthrough sixth places in the men’s and eight of the top 10 in the women’s.

Senior Antonio Palmer won the men’s event with a time of 15:40 and Olsen won the women’s event with a time of 17:44.

“My favorite thing about this meet is that we get to have friends and family from the area come down,” said Assistant Coach Dan Lee. Friends and family of ECU were out in full force and the home advantage proved to be a big boost.

Though a one-sided victory for the Pirates, ECU fought hard for every spot. Freshman Dylan Traywick used a strong finishing kick to catch and hold on to the 10th spot, securing himself a medal position.

ECU would not be able to hold such an event if it weren’t for the generosity of Geenville native, Parker Overton. He is the founder of local water sports dealer, Overton’s. The Pirate Invitational has been held at his property in Grimesland since 1991.

Athletes and coaches alike are very impressed with the property, as visiting coaches often compliment Coach Lee on how impressed they are with the location. Overton has been involved with many other areas of the school and said, as to why he is supportive of ECU, “you have to give to get.”

The highlight of the meet was after the races when the women’s track team was presented with their Conference USA indoor championship rings. The presentation was held on the patio outside of Overton’s home. Overton was a gracious host, inviting friends and family of the athletes.

During the presentation, Head Coach Curt Kraft spoke about the importance of teamwork in the sport.

“It’s not a men’s track team. It’s not a women’s track team. It’s East Carolina’s track and field team,” said Kraft.

With such a dominate home performance and the championship ring presentation, ECU is off to a solid start with much to look forward to in both cross country and track and field.


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