GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman men's and women's cross country teams NCAA Championship meet Saturday at the E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky. The women's 6K race will begin at 10:45 a.m., followed by the men's 10K race at approximately 11:45 a.m.
"We have focused on a number of goals throughout our time at Furman, and this NCAA Cross Country Championships always been included," said Furman head coach Robert Gary, who was named the 2017 NCAA Southeast Region Men's Coach of the Year earlier this week. "We are very proud of the entirety of the program that we are committed to out-performing our rankings heading into this meet."
The Paladin men enter Saturday's meet ranked seventh nationally winning the NCAA Southeast Regional championship last Friday. This year marks the fifth appearance for the Furman men at the NCAA Championships. The also competed in 1965, 1970, 2014, and 2015. The Paladins' highest finish at the national meet was recorded in 1965, when Furman finished 12th out of 18 teams. Most recently, the Paladins finished 13th at the 2015 national championships.
Furman, which clinched the men's Southern Conference title for the fifth-straight year at the league championship in October, is led by junior Aaron Templeton, who paced the Paladins at both the SoCon Championships and the Southeast Region Championships. Templeton, the 2017 SoCon Men's Runner of the Year, took the league title with a time of 23:43.9 on the 8K course then led the team on the 10K course with a time of 29:05.4 to finish fifth, becoming one of six Furman runners to earn a spot on the all-region team.
The year marks the first appearance at the NCAA Championships for the Paladin women's team, which is currently ranked 11th nationally after placing second at the Southeast Region Championships. Furman, which claimed its fifth-consecutive Southern Conference title last month, is led by senior Allie Buchalski, who earned her third-career SoCon Women's Runner of the Year award after winning the league meet with a time of 16:23.4 on the 5K course.
Buchalski, who went on to finish second with a time of 20:10.4 on the 6K regional course, is only the fourth woman in SoCon history to win three league individual titles and just the sixth runner to be named first team All-SoCon four times. Following the Southeast Region Championships, she was one of four Paladins to be named to the all-region team, the fourth such citation of Buchalski's career. She competed as an individual at the 2015 NCAA Championships, where she became the first All-American in the history of the Paladin cross country program after placing seventh in the event.
Buchalski, sophomores Riley Burr, Savannah Carnahan, Grace Dwyer, Emma Grace Hurley, Gabrielle Jennings, and freshman Kristlin Gear will compete for the Paladin women on Saturday, while seniors Josh Brickell, Tanner Hinkle, Frank Lara, Troy Reeder, along with Templeton, sophomore Mason Coppi, and freshman Daniel Bernal will complete the men's slate.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information