Cross Country Set for Horizon League Championships

Junior Photis Karkalis
Junior Photis Karkalis

Oct. 25, 2012

Men’s Course Map
Women’s Course Map

CHICAGO – The UIC men’s and women’s cross country teams are set to compete in the 2012 Horizon League Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27, which are being co-hosted by UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside.  The event will take place at the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Course in Kenosha, Wis. with the women’s 5K race starting at 11 a.m. CT and the men’s 8K beginning at Noon.  The men hope to remain in the top three after finishing third last season as the women look to climb the ladder after placing seventh in 2011.

“The freshmen have contributed greatly to both programs.  My goal all along was to have the male and female freshman of the year, it is going to be a head to head race for the woman and on the men’s side we can definitely dominate that,” said coach Knoedel.

Throughout the 2012 season, both squads have seen production from a healthy mix of both upper and underclassmen.  Freshmen Pat Niyork and Emma Preston have had impressive debut seasons, pacing the Flames in three of their six meets.  The pair owns team-best times of 25:03 in the 8K (Niyork) and 18:17 in the 5K (Preston), while earning Horizon League Runner of the Week honors on Oct. 10.  Freshmen Billy Clink is the other UIC runner to garner league weekly accolades this season as he has five top-four finishes among the Flames.  



On the men’s side, veteran leadership will be relied on by juniors Angelos and Photis Karkalis and Arash Darbandi.  Angelos is the highest returning finisher for UIC from last year’s championship meet as he crossed the line in 25th place.  His twin brother Photis piloted the Flames in the final regular season meet, posting a time of 25:22 in the 8K race, third-fastest on the team this season.  Darbandi began the year strong with two top-10 finishes, but was hampered with injuries through the middle portion of the schedule.

The women will look to junior Jamie Johnson and sophomores Rebecca Zaiter and Tess Erhardt for guidance as they are the top returning finishers from the 2011 meet.  Johnson took ninth as an individual at last year’s race and has been a consistent performer the Flames this season.  Zaiter was held out of the first two meets due to injury, but since then has seen vast improvements week-to-week, owning a season-best time of 18:52.7 in the 5K.  Erhardt placed 14th overall at the league championships last season and kicked off the 2012 campaign with a sixth-place finish at the UIC Home Opener.

“The experience we’ve had on the course will make a huge difference because knowing where all the hills and mile markers are and knowing when to push it, will be a tremendous asset,” said Knoedel.

Results and awards will be announced around 12:45 p.m. for those on-site, with online coverage to follow right here at  Ticket prices are $5 for the general public and $3 for seniors and students.