Atlanta, GA – Experienced.
That is the best way to describe the Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s cross country roster, which features six returners and three seniors, for Tony Nicolosi, who enters his first season guiding the Governors.
Nicolosi came to Clarksville after spending seven seasons at Division II California State East Bay, where he led the Pioneers to a fourth-place finish in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships in 2017, the best in program history.
He developed Pedro Cru, an all-region performer who finished 21st at the NCAA West Region Championship. Prior to CSUEB, Nicolosi spent three years as an assistant at Western State Colorado, helping the Mountaineers to a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship and consecutive top-five finishes in the NCAA Championship.
“I really enjoy the process of developing top competitors,” Nicolosi commented. “I have an individualized plan for each runner. We have very high-level expectations for nutrition, training and staying healthy. Getting runners to buy into the program has been a big part of the success.”
Sophomores Connor Duncan and Lennon Matthews and junior Jack Fitzgerald join Ryan Martin, Stone Norris, and Elliot Reed as returners. Duncan posted a personal-best, 8k time of 26:58 in last season’s OVC Championship. Martin and Norris are both Clarksville natives.
Lucas Bales is the lone new face on campus. He was an all-conference and all-region performer as a junior and senior for Jefferson County (Tenn.) High School.
Despite being picked 13th in Wednesday’s ASUN Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, Nicolosi sees big things on the horizon for his squad.
“We are at the beginning stages of what we want to do,” Nicolosi said. “We want to be at the top of the conference, but it’s not going to happen overnight. We will get better everyday and every month I’m here. This is a starting point, and we are only going to dramatically improve.”
Austin Peay, which enters its first season in the ASUN, opens its campaign for a fourth-straight year in the Belmont Opener. The men’s 5k on September 2nd begins at 9:00am CT at Percy Warner Park’s Vaughn’s Creek Cross Country Course in Nashville, Tennessee.
2022 ASUN Conference Preseason Honors
Preseason Runner of the Year: Ahmed Jaziri, Eastern Kentucky
|Preseason Coaches Poll|
|Place||Team (First Place Votes)||Points|
|1||North Florida (7)||184|
|2||Eastern Kentucky (7)||176|
|6||Florida Gulf Coast||113|