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MCGILL: @HerdTFXC Runners Chase History at C-USA Championships

Oct. 27, 2017

By Chuck McGill

When the Marshall University men’s and women’s cross country teams compete in the Conference USA Championships on the Choctaw Trails in Clinton, Mississippi, this Saturday morning, a pair of runners will be trying to add their names to the programs’ record books.

Daniel Green, a junior from Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, is trying to become the first MU cross country team member to earn all-conference honors in consecutive years since Matt Schiffbauer, who accomplished the feat four straight times (2008 through 2011). Green placed 17th last season to earn third team recognition.

On the women’s side, junior Adriana Cook is going farther back in the Herd’s history. Cook, who is from Crab Orchard, West Virginia, could become the first women’s cross country team member to earn all-conference honors in consecutive years since Christa Gibson did it in 1990 and ’91. That was when Marshall competed in the Southern Conference.

“We could have one of the best races we’ve ever had at conference,” said Caleb Bowen, an assistant coach who is in charge of cross country.

Green spearheads the men’s team. He has been at the front of the pack for the Thundering Herd this season, and Bowen feels the best is yet to come.

“He trains harder than anybody I know,” Bowen said. “He loves running. He’s the type of guy who can run 20 miles and not feel a thing. He likes to push the pace early. He’s a guy who is going to take it out hard and make everybody hurt around him.”

The top seven runners at the C-USA meet earn first team honors. The next seven receive second team recognition and Nos. 15 through 21 are third teamers. Green should flirt with a second team finish, Bowen said.

The Herd men have two other runners who could crack the top 21: Junior Nick Schmidt (Davison, Michigan) and sophomore Alex Minor (Morgantown, West Virginia).

“We knew coming into this season we had a really strong three on the men’s side,” Bowen said. “We want to get as many on all-conference as we can.”

The makeup of the women’s team is different, Bowen said.

“We have a really close pack,” Bowen said. “It’s taken them a little bit longer to develop throughout the season, but right now you can tell it’s coming together.”

That development, Bowen said, is attributed to the fact that several runners have dealt with injuries. One of those, Cook, sustained a knee injury near the end of indoor season and has slowly built up strength and confidence throughout the cross country season.

“She was an all-conference runner a year ago,” Bowen said. “She has to believe in herself that she’s good again.”

Cook dazzled at last year’s Conference USA championships in Charlotte, finishing in 18:00.4 – No. 16 overall on the women’s side. That earned her C-USA third team honors.

After recording the Herd’s second-best time at the Morehead State Eagle opener on Sept. 1, Cook has been Marshall’s top finisher at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tennessee; the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana; and the VertCross Invitational in Kernersville, North Carolina.

Cook will be followed – in some order – by Hurricane natives Barkley Castro and Abigail Short; Warren, Ohio native Taylor Craigo; Jane Jensen, a senior from Indian Hills, Colorado; Madison native Samantha Graffius; Elizabeth native Mary Kerby; and another Hurricane product, Tori Dent.

“Barkley has done a great job because she’s not your traditional cross country runner,” Bowen said. “She’s more of a mid-distance, speed runner. She’s done an awesome job.”

The men’s race, an 8K, begins at 10 a.m. (9 a.m. in Clinton, Mississippi) on Saturday. The women’s race follows one hour later, with championship awards

Follow the team on Twitter and Instagram @HerdTFXC for more from Marshall University cross country. #IAmBecauseWeAre