VIDEO: Christian Brewer Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn.—Following a three-week layoff since concluding action at the Tusculum Open on September 9, the Carson-Newman cross country team will resume play with the Maryville College invitational on Saturday beginning at 9:00 a.m.
"This meet will be a little bit of s stepping stone. Our first meet at Tusculum a couple of weeks ago was really just to get our feet wet," assistant coach Christian Brewer said. "Saturday is going to be a little different as we will try and take our next step towards the conference meet in three weeks."
The meet will serve as the second race of the season for the Eagles as the women claimed the top-team prize at the Tusculum Open to begin the year while the men finished second-overall. The Maryville College Invitational will play host to over 10 schools, a few of which come from the South Atlantic Conference.
"Having so many teams present at this meet was a big factor in why we chose to compete there," Brewer added. "We wanted to compete against teams in our conference and teams that are at our level of competition so we can see where we stack up against them."
The women will kick things off at 9:00 a.m. while taking part in the five-kilometer running path. Carson-Newman's men will dart out of the start line at 10:00 a.m. for an eight-kilometer challenge. The running course this weekend for the Eagles will present some challenges as Brewer and the rest of the coaching staff noted that time is not of the essence this weekend.
"The running course will be mostly grass with a couple of trails in the woods. They will be on the road for a little bit, so it won't exactly be the best course for time," Brewer added. "That, however, is not the reason we chose to go there. The times will not be a reflection to their physical conditioning. It will just be a good way to get ready to go to conference."
A number of C-N athletes took long strides in the season-opening meet a couple of weeks ago, but perhaps the biggest surprise was sophomore Sky McCarter (Seveirville, Tenn.) placing second-overall with a time of 22:00.9 in the five-kilometer race to lead all Eagle women.
"Sky has progressed a lot and she is just a phenomenal athlete to work with," Brewer said. "She does everything we ask her to do and she comes out every day to fight to stay with the girls we ask her to run with. She ran the race well at Tusculum—exactly how I asked her to do it – and I couldn't be happier with her. No one ran badly, but she ran really well and I think that is going to be something that we continue to see throughout the season."
Brewer assists first-year cross country coach Tyler Stepp in everyday operation of the program for both the men and the women. The former collegiate cross country runner has enjoyed his time in Mossy Creek so far and is excited to see what his first season brings.
"My time here so far has been awesome. There is so much potential for cross country here at Carson-Newman," Brewer said. "It's a beautiful area, we have great facilities for training and it's just a great school that kids want to come to. We have great kids here who will do whatever it takes to get better and as a coach, that's all you want."
A complete recap of Saturday's Maryville College Invitational can be found at cneagles.com following the conclusion of the men's race. Follow @CNathletics on twitter for continual coverage of the Carson-Newman cross country program.