Auburn Set to Embark on 2005 Campaign
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Dawn Martin and the Tigers open the season at the Florida State Invitational on Saturday.
Dawn Martin and the Tigers open the season at the Florida State Invitational on Saturday.

Sept. 14, 2005

Florida State Invitational Notes

AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn men's and women's cross country teams will begin the 2005 season Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Florida State Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla. The event will commence at 7:30 a.m. with the men's 8K, followed by the women's 5K at 8:10 a.m. The event will be held at Miccoskukee Greenway Park, which will also host the 2005 ACC Championships in October.

Florida State Invitational
September 17
Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Course: Miccoskukee Greenway Park
Teams: Auburn, Bethune-Cookman, Clemson (women only), Embry-Riddle, Florida, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Florida Southern, Florida Tech, Georgia Tech, Jacksonville, North Florida, Saint Leo, Tampa, Texas A&M, Troy State, University of Central Florida and Webber International (women only)
Times: Men's 8K - 7:30 a.m.
Women's 5K - 8:10 a.m.

Lineup - Men
Andrew Heath  Sr.
Chris Walsh  So.
Patrick Mouser  Jr.
Patrick Philbin  Jr.
Matt Tillman  Sr.
Joey Giattino  Sr.
Elliot Smith  So.
Clay Askew  Sr.
Alan Burnie  Sr.
Jordan Davis  So.

Lineup - Women
Angela Homan  Sr.
Dawn Morgan  Sr.
Becca Bell  So.
Denise Daughenbaugh  Jr.
Megan Karl  So.
Jessica Smith  So.
Alayne Thompson  Jr.
Laura Steele  So.

The Field
The event will feature a strong field of 17 men's teams and 19 women's teams. Auburn is the only SEC team competing in the event. Host Florida State has the highest ranked men's and women's teams in the field. The men's team is ranked 20th in the preseason United States Cross Country Coaches Association (USCCCA) Poll. The women are receiving votes in the FinishLynx NCAA Cross Country Poll. The Auburn men are ranked fourth in the south region, while the women's regional polls are yet to be released.

New Era
Peter Watson begins his first season as the coach of the cross country program. Watson takes over for former coach Chris Fox, who was hired as the head track and field coach at Syracuse after three seasons at Auburn. Watson is a 2001 graduate of West Virginia, where he was a four-year letterman on both the track and cross country teams. A native of London, Ontario, Canada, Watson participated in the 2000 and 2001 Canadian National Track and Field Championships.

Looking Ahead
The men's team returns 10 letterwinners from a year ago, including five of their top-seven runners from a team that finished fourth at the 2004 SEC Championships. Pacing the men will be senior Andrew Heath and sophomore Chris Walsh. Heath is a two-time All-SEC selection and was the Tigers' top finisher in two events last season. Walsh was the 2004 SEC Male Freshman of the Year and finished 73rd at the NCAA Championships.

Led by back-to-back SEC Champion and All-American senior Angela Homan, the women's team returns eight letterwinners from last year's team that finished fifth at the SEC Championships and fifth at the NCAA South Regional. Homan won every race last season leading up to the NCAA Championships, where she placed ninth. This season, Homan joins Dawn Morgan as the only two seniors on the team. The women's roster is comprised of 10 underclassmen and just five upperclassmen.

Looking Back
The 2004 season was very successful for the Tigers. Both the men's and women's team earned top-five finishes in the conference and each team placed one individual in the NCAA Championships. The men's team won one event and finished no worse than fourth in all five events. The women's team picked up one victory, while earning top-five finishes in four of five events. Individually, senior Angela Homan added to her already crowded trophy case by earning All-America honors and winning the SEC and NCAA South Regional Championships. On the men's side, sophomore Chris Walsh became only the second male in Auburn history to qualify for the NCAA Championships, placing 73rd. Walsh's success helped him earn SEC Male Freshman of the Year honors.