Buffs, Lady Buffs prepare for Blue Ridge Open

from staff reports

   The Milligan College men's and women's cross country teams will compete Saturday at the Blue Ridge Open, hosted by Appalachian State University. This year's lineup of teams consists of App State, ETSU, Virginia Tech and Lenoir Rhyne.
   Leading the Buffs into action will be senior standout Ryan Starr (Bartlesville, OK), who recently finished 12th overall at the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic against a field of over 200 runners. Starr's 8k time was 26:08.
   Finishing behind Starr in Louisville was freshman Chris Wright (Baltimore, Mo.). Wright crossed the line in 16th, with a time of 26:28, a new 8k personal best.
   Rounding out the Buffs traveling to Boone, N.C. will be junior Shane Oakleaf (Newark, OH), local freshman Brandon Talbert (Mt. Carmel), sophomore transfer Ted Dubois (Manchester, IN), and senior high jumper turned distance runner Terence Gadsden (Charleston, SC).
   On the women's side, the Lady Buffs will compete with a limited squad. Freshman Megan Lease (Camden, N.C.) will look to build on her already successful first-year campaign.
   Lease lowered the Milligan 5k record last week to 19:12, almost two and half seconds faster than her high school best.
   Running steady at No. 2 this year is sophomore Lauren Gross (Roanoke, Va.). Gross came to Milligan with a solid high school personal best, but due to limited training only ran 24:00 as a freshman.
   She has turned things around this season with a best of 20:46. Senior Angela McGraw (Abingdon, Va.) usually fills the No. 3 spot, but will sit out this meet for disciplinary reasons.
   Freshman Rachel Carriger (League City, Tex.) will also compete on Friday. Freshman Gina Jury (Bradenton, Fla.) and junior Kristina Kayser (Johnson City, Tenn.) are taking the weekend off due to minor injuries.
   Milligan's men are 24-9 on the season, while the women are 16-12. Both squads have next weekend off.