Colonel XC to Begin 2023 Season at UNO Opener

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Edna “Annie” Parfait
August 30, 2023

The Nicholls State University cross country program will begin the 2023 season competing at Lake Oaks Park, in New Orleans, at the UNO XC Opener on Friday, Sept. 1.

At the event, the women will compete in a 4k course at 6:10 p.m. and the men will be running a 5k course at 6:45 p.m.

Both squads are full of new faces and talent but have retained veteran leadership.

The Colonels women’s squad is composed of a mix of experienced veterans, standout transfers and promising freshmen. Led by returners Kalin Baratka and Meghan Nevlud, they will be joined by a strong group of rookies with Issy Rivault and Maria Nikolaou leading the way. Transfer Sophia Harrison rounds out the squad and will play an integral role for the women’s side.

The Nicholls men’s squad hosts an array of talent, featuring adept upperclassmen, with nine returners including seniors Wesley O’Neal and Dustin Wager. They are joined by seven freshmen including Avery Morgan who won the State Championship last year at Vandebilt Catholic.

Head Coach Stefanie Slekis enters her seventh season at the helm of the program, with her supporting staff Troy Taylor, Omo Obah and Seth Andres who are excited to continue to build from last season.

Coach Slekis commented on how she feels about the upcoming season opener.

“Our opener is going to be fun because we get to see Southeastern and UNO right away,” Slekis said. “We have a great group, really good pre-season training and are getting ready to race in the season opener.”

Coach Slekis gave her thoughts on facing conference opponents New Orleans and Southeastern to start the season.

“We can get a pretty good benchmark for where we are compared to the potential best team in the conference [UNO] and another team we have a pretty good win record on [Southeastern]”

Following the UNO XC Opener, the Colonels will prepare to travel to Baton Rouge for the LSU Invitational on Friday, Sept. 15.