The 2017-18 Columbus State University athletic year officially kicked off on Wednesday with the start of fall practice for the cross country and soccer programs.
The cross country programs took to the trails bright and early Wednesday for the first runs of the season.
“Our first day of practice showed a marked improvement even with muddy and wet conditions,” head men’s cross country coach J.D. Evilsizer said. “We bring back most of our team from last year and are excited with what the season will bring.”
Evilsizer returns 11 runners from the 2016 men’s team, including seven of the nine runners that competed for the Cougars at the Peach Belt Conference Championship. CSU’s new additions include Young Harris transfer Tim Asis, who captured the individual PBC title last season.
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Head women’s cross country coach David Marley brings back six runners from last season, four of which ran in the conference championship.
“We came into the first day of practice determined and ready to roll,” Marley commented. “They prepared well this summer and are striving for greatness this season.”
The Columbus State women’s soccer team hit the field Wednesday morning for its first of two practice sessions on the opening day.
“We were really excited to get back on the field,” head coach Jay Entlich said. “With so many new players, the girls were anxious to get out on the field and train for the first time.”
The Lady Cougars return 12 players from last year’s squad that won the PBC regular season and tournament titles and reached the national semifinals. All-Americans Hugrun Elvarsdottir, Olivia Jarrell and Cassandra Wade are each back in 2017, along with three other starters. Entlich added 14 newcomers to the fold for the fall.
All three teams will open up their seasons on Friday, Sept. 1. The cross country teams will compete at the JSU Strut’s Season Opener in Oxford, Ala., while the women’s soccer team will play second-ranked Grand Valley State in Louisville, Ky.