FHU Cross Country Race Preview: Freed Speed Open

FHU Cross Country Race Preview: Freed Speed Open

Fri, Sep. 11, 2015 - [Cross Country]

By Matt Barker, Sports Information Director

HENDERSON, Tenn. - The Freed-Hardeman cross country teams will be given the opportunity this weekend to do something that has never been done in the history of the FHU cross country program: race in front of a home crowd.

As part of the annual Hall of Fame weekend, the men's and women's cross country teams will be hosting the Freed Speed Open- an invitational comprised of nearly 10 schools that will be visiting Henderson for the event. The race will take place on Saturday, September 12 beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the women's 5K race.

Derrick Spradlin, head coach for the FHU cross country teams, said he is excited about the opportunity to host an event at the local level.

"I'm looking forward to our team getting to run in front of their home crowd," he said. "This is the first time we have hosted a meet, so the added excitement surrounding that, along with all of our supporters cheering for us, should help encourage us out on the course."

The Lady Lion and Lion cross country teams kicked off their season last week at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic, which for many of the new members on the team, was their first race experience at the college level.

Spradlin is confident that the new runners on the team this year will have a major impact on the season.

"Our top seven runners at the Twilight Classic last week were all new members of the team," Spradlin said. "I am hoping that our "newbies" will have a breakout year, but getting comfortable with a longer race distance compared to high school can take some time."

Freshmen Dillon Tucker and Adam Dunlap led the men's cross country team last weekend at the Twilight Classic, which marked the first collegiate race of their careers.

Sloan Scott led the Lady Lion cross country team last weekend followed by sophomore Libby Elliott. Spradlin is confident that the strong leadership of the Lady Lions core will translate to the new runners on the team this season.

"This year will be the final season for Cassie Searcy, Kierra Male, and Sloan Scott and I would like to see them make this last season their best ever," he said. "Libby Elliott was our number two runner last year as a sophomore and she seems ready to bring her times down after having one year of experience at the college level."

In addition to the Freed Speed Open taking place this weekend, the cross country teams are also looking forward to hosting the American Midwest Conference tournament in Henderson on November 8.

Spradlin said he is thrilled to be given the opportunity to host two events in one season.

"It is exciting to be able to host multiple events this year," he said. "I am hoping that we can use both events to show the students here at Freed-Hardeman what cross country is like in order to expose them to our sport. I am also hoping that our runners will have a home field advantage since they have logged hundred of miles on our course."

The Freed Speed Open is expected to bring in over 200 runners from 10 schools across the country. The schools expected to participate in the event include Union University, University of Tennessee at Martin, Lane College, Bethel University, Columbia College, Williams Baptist, Rust, Lemoyne-Owen, and Oakland City.

The event will kick off on Saturday with the women's 5K race beginning at 8:30 AM followed by the men's 8K race beginning at 9:15 AM.