Heading into the 2004 Big South Cross Country Championships, the Coastal Carolina mens squad is looking to improve on last years third place finish. First year head coach Jeff Jacobs may not be the most familiar with the Big South squads, but after a few head-to-head meetings, he has a good feel for what could happen at the championships next week.
"Right now, High Point is definitely the favorite with the way they have run so far this season," Jacobs said. "Both them and Liberty have beaten us during the year, so based on the season, we are third heading into the Big South Championships. However, I dont feel like they are out of our range at the Championship if we can put everything together on that day."
Leading Coastal is two-time defending individual champion Terah Kipchiris. Kipchiris has run well this year, finishing as Coastals top finisher in every race he has run this year and capturing individual titles at the Tar Heel Challenge and UNC Wilmington Seahawk Invitational. However, Jacobs knows Kipchiris is going to have to be even better this year to make it a three-peat as an individual and help CCU improve its standing in the conference.
"At the Great American Cross Country Festival, Terah ran a race that, if he runs like that at the regional, showed he could qualify and post a high finish at the NCAA Championships," Jacobs continued. "However at the Big South Championships, he has his hands full with Josh McDougal from Liberty, as he is a phenomenal freshman who defeated Terah decisively at GACC. But Terah has the ability to run even better and will definitely run hard to defend his individual title and help the team."
Coastal is a team that is improving from week to week, as the Chanticleers look to try and move up. Jacobs, a distance runner himself, has the experience to help the team progress in the future. However, he knows that to move up now, his runners will have to keep close tabs on their key foes from High Point and Liberty.
"Some of our other runners have continued to step up this season," Jacobs concluded. "Nelson (Oliveria) has proven he could run well in previous meets this year. Doug Currie has consistently been our third finisher and has shown he will battle for All-Big South honors. But we need really good performances frrom our third through seventh runners to have a chance to move up in the final team standings."