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Clemson cross country entering 2023 with promising youth and proven veterans

Patrick Driscoll
The Clemson track and field team will begin its season on Dec. 8 when it hosts the Clemson opener.

Clemson cross country looks to continue the momentum in the program this fall as head coach Vicky Pounds enters her fifth season at the helm. 

Thanks to a steady upward trend in the last few years for the program, there is a lot of excitement in “PoundTown, USA” — the affectionate name the team uses to reference coach Pounds. 

Returning key contributors, many of whom are seniors, gives coach Pounds a great balance of experience and raw talent for this upcoming year. 

Sophomore Victor Ndiwa leads the charge on the men’s team, as he was the top finisher for Clemson at both the ACC Championship and NCAA Regional Championship. Making his debut halfway through last season, Ndiwa immediately impacted the Tigers as he ran a 23-minute and 59-second 8-kilometer and a 31:12 10-kilometer last year. 

Helping Ndiwa is junior Sawyer Dagan, who earned two top-five finishes early last season for the five and 6-kilometer events and looks to amplify his presence as a seasoned veteran this fall. A group of experienced seniors and motivated underclassmen are expected to propel the men’s team to new heights. 

On the women’s side, senior Brynne Sumner was the top contributor and the first to cross the line for Clemson during the championship season. The Georgia native specializes in the 6-kilometer, speeding in at 21:45 at last year’s NCAA Southeast Regional. Sumner, in addition to seniors Meredith Finley, Grace Hanratty and Grace Wadas, is set to lead a young but very talented squad.

Additionally, then-freshman Maddie Dinneen had a stellar campaign last fall, highlighted by a first-place finish at the Kennesaw State dual meet. 

Madison Roush is also coming off a fantastic freshman season, often finishing in the top three for Clemson. Meanwhile, the newcomer to watch is Gladys Chepngetich, hailing all the way from Eldoret, Kenya, to assist the Tigers. 

Over the summer, the Tigers have worked hard with hopes of a successful 2023-24 campaign, as some even traveled out West to live and train in high-altitude conditions, living and training together. 

While an official schedule has not been released yet, the cross-country season typically begins with shorter races in early September, with distances progressively getting longer throughout the season. The ACC Championships take place at Florida State University on Oct. 27, with NCAA regionals set for Nov. 10 at the University of South Carolina Upstate. 

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Patrick Driscoll, Senior Reporter
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  • K

    Kara DriscollAug 24, 2023 at 10:30 am

    Great job, Patrick! Good luck to the Cross Country Tigers!