Clayton State men's cross country set to open season Sat.
MORROW, GA -- AUGUST 31, 2012 – Gearing up for its 18th season, the Clayton State cross country teams will race into the 2012 campaign on Saturday in the 8K Suwanee/Berry Cross Country Invitational. The meet will begin at 10 a.m. and be held at Berry College in Rome, GA.
Led by junior Charles "Scooter" Anderson, a two-time All Peach Belt Conference runner, the Lakers enter the season with a mix of experienced returnees and talented newcomers.
"Our men's squad is solid, but we're without two of our returnees who are sidelined by injury and academics, so we don't have the depth we would like," said head coach Mike Mead. "However, I'm optimistic of our chances this season within the conference and region if we stay healthy and perform up to our potential."
Anderson finished 13th at last year's 2011 Peach Belt meet, and according to Mead, looks like he will pick up where he left off. Junior Ayrton Azcue also returns in better shape after having a breakthrough track season along with the squad's lone senior in Ricky Fort, who is finishing his Laker career after last running cross country in 2010.
The Lakers will welcome three newcomers to the fold, two of whom are transfers from Oklahoma City University in junior Ciaran Lane and sophomore Matthew Bailey. The third newcomer is a freshman from Kenya in Job Kemboi.
Clayton State has enjoyed a streak of finishing in the top three in the Peach Belt for five straight years, but it will be a test to keep that streak alive in 2012.
"The conference is going to be strong this season," said Mead. "Augusta State won the Peach Belt last season and they will be the team to beat. Columbus State will be much improved over last season while UNC Pembroke is an unknown with their huge freshman class that could be a difference maker."
Mead also says the NCAA Division II All Southeast Region favors the likes of King, Mars Hill and Mount Olive, but also adds that one cannot rule out Queens, a perennial powerhouse in the region.