Oct. 26, 2007
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - One team has an outstanding individual looking for a strong senior-year performance, while the other has a talented group of sophomores seeking to run with a pack mentality.
The overall goal is improvement for the University of Maryland women's and men's cross country teams at this Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference Championships being hosted by the University of Virginia.
Prior to the season, head coach Andrew Valmon pointed to the ACC meet as the key outing for the year for his teams. Training has been based at helping the Terrapins peak at the right time, with the idea of improving on last year's 10th-place finishes by both squads.
"Overall, our goal is improvement," said Valmon, in his fifth year as the Terrapins head track and field coach. "We are looking to better our points and position within the conference, and I believe that our group has put in the work to do this."
Valmon brought in assistant coach Terry Weir over the summer to work with the distance program. With the men and women each winning team titles at the Leopard Invitational in Maryland's most recent outing, the goal of peaking at ACCs may be on the horizon.
"I'm happy with the way the team has responded to our new coaching staff," said Valmon. "Coach Weir and volunteer Adam Bray have both built off of last season and we are continuing to progress forward."
Senior Meghan Braffet will run in her final ACC Cross Country Championship on Saturday. Braffet won the ACC Outdoor title at 10 kilometers two seasons ago and could earn All-ACC designation with a top-15 finish.
"Meghan Braffet is going to be a strong leader for the women as she finishes out her final season of cross country," said Valmon. "I'm looking forward to watching her join the top of a competitive pack within our conference this weekend."
Behind her is a group of sophomores who have also distinguished themselves this season. Erin Matyus made the most of her first appearance this season by finishing 11th at the Leopard Invitational and second on the team behind Braffet's individual victory. Kristin Reed has finished in the top three on the team in each of Maryland's four meets thus far.
Freshman Angeli Sivaraman has finished in the 2-3-4 range for the Terps this year, while Kylynn McKinley, Christina Nelson, Libby Babcock and Lindsay Ritchings will round out the eight-athlete lineup for the Maryland women.
On the men's side, sophomores Greg Kelsey and Ben Diestel have worked the top of the pack for the Terps. Diestel was Maryland's top finisher at the George Mason Invitational, placing sixth individually. Kelsey led the Terps at the Leopard Invitational with a sixth-place finish, with Diestel just seconds behind.
"The men will be led by our top-two finishers this season, Greg Kelsey and Ben Diestel," said Valmon. "Both of these sophomores have more experience this year and are rounding into form at the right time."
The 8-kilometer men's race hits the starting line at 10 a.m., with the 6-kilometer women's race at 11 a.m.
More information about the 2007 ACC Championships is available at