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HomeSportsAustin Peay State University Women's Cross Country ready to kick off season

Austin Peay State University Women’s Cross Country ready to kick off season

APSU Women's Cross CountryAtlanta, GA – The best word to describe Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s cross country team heading into the 2022 season: new.

The Governors, who enter their first season under the direction of Tony Nicolosi, added four freshmen and one transfer to a roster that includes three returners – graduate student Mikaela Smith and sophomores Lauren Lewis and Sydney Hartoin.

“It has been an amazing experience so far,” Nicolosi, who arrived on campus in July, said. “Coach (Valerie) Brown has given me an incredible opportunity being here. It has been everything I hoped for in terms of resources, support and expectations. I want to create a standard of expectation here that we are going to be very difficult to beat and will be one of the best teams in the conference every year.”
 
Nicolosi came to Clarksville after spending seven seasons at Division II California State East Bay.
 
In 2019, Nicolosi led CSUEB to its best season in program history, qualifying for its first NCAA Championships and placing ninth in the event. He developed All-American Angie Ronquillo, who placed 30th in the championship meet and recorded the fastest 6K in program history.
 
“I really enjoy the process of developing top competitors,” Nicolosi commented. “I have an individualized plan for each lady. 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.”
 
Piper Barnhart, Sydney Freeman, Kerra Marsh and Hallie Mattingly join junior Savannah Fruth as new faces on campus. Freeman was a member of James Clemens (Ala.) High School’s 2019 Class 7A state championship team and was named all-section as a junior and senior and all-metro as a sophomore. Marsh was tabbed all-county as a junior and senior at White House (Tenn.) High School. While at Henderson County (Ky.) High School, Mattingly was named to the 2021 all-area first team and helped lead the Colonels to three-consecutive 3A state championships (2019-21). Last season at NAIA member Bryan (Tenn.), Fruth placed 22nd in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Championship.
 
Smith, who won the Fan Vote for Preseason Runner of the Year, and Lewis, each a member of the 2022 OVC 4×400 meter relay championship team during the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, return to The Queen City along with Hartoin. 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 women’s 5k on September 2nd begins at 9:30am 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: Calli Doan, Liberty

Preseason Coaches Poll
Place Team (First Place Votes) Points
1 Liberty (13) 195
2 Lipscomb (1) 182
3 Eastern Kentucky 163
4 Kennesaw State 144
5 Queens 128
6 Jacksonville 113
7 Central Arkansas 111
8 North Florida 108
9 Bellarmine 85
10 Stetson 74
11 North Alabama 57
12 Florida Gulf Coast 43
13 Austin Peay 35
14 Jacksonville State 32
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