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Oct. 24, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - USC Upstate cross country hits the road this weekend for its final and most important meet of the season as it makes the journey to Nashville, Tenn., for the Atlantic Sun Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Vaughn's Gap Course in Percy Warner Park.
The Atlantic Sun Championships features all 12 A-Sun schools with schools and their respective runners vying for team and individual titles as well as all-conference and all-freshman honors. It will mark the first time that any USC Upstate athletic program is competing in an A-Sun championship.
"We're very excited about going to the conference meet and we are looking forward to the competition from the other schools," cross country head coach Jimmy Stephens said. "It's also special that we're competing in a conference championship for the first time since 2003."
Leading the charge for Upstate in Nashville on Saturday will be freshman women's cross country runner Emily Tangwar. Tangwar is coming off two great performances, winning the women's 5k at The Citadel Invitational on Sept. 29 and finish fourth at the Furman Invitational on Oct. 13. She was named A-Sun Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week after her performance at Furman and has finished in the top-10 in all five races this season.
"We've talked about some different scenarios, but when that gun goes off, all bets are off," assistant cross country coach Ed Schlichter said. "Emily just has to stay calm and in control and believe in herself. She has a chance to do something special."
Pacing the men's team will be sophomore Matt Henderson whose best finish of the season was a ninth place showing at the Charlotte Invitational on Sept. 21. Also hoping to pace Upstate to a good finish are junior Brent Durden and freshmen Drew Goode and Conrad Goeringer.
"Matt is one of the most dedicated runners I've seen. He's the first one at practice and the last one to leave," Schlichter said. "He's going to try and sneak into the top-10, which would be a great finish for him."
Stephens said that both teams are going into this weekend's season finale with a goal of finishing in the top-7, which is "a very realistic goal."
"All season our goal has been improve, set realistic goals, and emphasize the conference meet," Stephens said. "This is the last time this season that we get to lay it on the line and show what we're made of."