Toccoa Falls College men’s cross country team will begin its fall season with expectations of placing at the national championship meet. At the 2012 national event, TFC finished a point out of third place, and despite losing five of their top seven runners, the Eagles will look to build from last season’s challenge at the national banner.
The young Eagles will lean on junior Jimmy Ratliff as a pace setter and team leader. Ratliff placed 39th of 61 participants at last season’s national championship run with a time of 33:40. Evan Garrett also returns from the 2012 squad and will look to build on his time of 35:21. Joining the Eagles harriers will be newcomers Andrew Collins, Timothy Sestak, Stephen King, and Jeremiah Klinect.
Andrew Collins will provide immediate maturity and work ethic to the young squad. A married transfer student and Army reservist, Collins entered Toccoa Falls College in the spring and has been training with the team since enrolling. Coach Dale Garside said of Collins, “He is spiritually mature, disciplined, focused, and intelligent. He also has leadership qualities that will bolster this year’s team.”
Joining TFC cross country from Grove City, Pennsylvania, is Timothy Sestak. Sestak has experience as a competitive swimmer and cross country runner. “Sestak has been running strong and will break into our top runners,” predicted Coach Garside.
Freshman Stephen King captained his high school cross country team and comes to TFC after serving with his family on the mission field in Europe. Garside said of King, “He is experienced, fast, intelligent, and spiritually mature. He is a welcomed addition to the team.”
Jeremiah Klinect is a TFC senior who will join the runners for the first time. According to Gardise, Klinect “Has been training this summer…he is competitive, committed, and disciplined.”
The Eagles first meet of the fall will be on September 6 at North Georgia Tech. TFC will host two meets this season. Both TFC meets will begin at 10:00 AM and will be on October 12 and November 2, respectively. The season will culminate on November 16 in Cedarville, Ohio, at the annual National Championships.