Cross Country: 2011 Schedule Released
- By Daniel Whitehead
- July 21, 2011 02:03 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck announced today the 2011 cross country schedule.
“Coach (Sean) Cleary does an excellent job of putting together schedules he finds challenging for his team,” Luck says. “This is a quality schedule that our runners will compete in during the fall. Given the success of coach Cleary’s programs over the past few years, I believe our girls will do very well against top-notch competition.”
The Mountaineers start the season Sept. 3 at the Maryland Eastern Shore Lid-Lifter Invitational in Princess Anne, Md. The team placed second at the event two years ago and will look to improve with the top showing this time around. Three weeks later, WVU travels to Toledo, Ohio, to compete at the Inter-Regional Bubble Buster, the first time the team will race at the event.
The team will have the opportunity to preview the same course where the BIG EAST Championships will be held as they travel to Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 1 to compete at the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic. With a return visit to the Penn State National Invitational on Oct. 14, the team will look for a top finish to improve upon last year’s sixth-place mark at the event, which fielded No. 1 Villanova, No. 8 Syracuse and other quality programs.
“Being consistent with the philosophy of this program, our schedule proves an opportunity for the team to have the chance to see the BIG EAST and NCAA Regional course prior to the championship portion of our season,” Cleary says. “We have not been to Louisville in three years and have never raced at Toledo. We are excited to see where this schedule brings us by season’s end.”
Competing in the toughest conference in the nation with Villanova, Georgetown, Syracuse, Providence and others, the Mountaineers will approach the BIG EAST Championships on Oct. 29 having participated in some of the toughest races to prepare themselves.
“Just like basketball, this is the toughest league in the country from top to bottom,” Cleary says. “We’re looking at roughly seven schools from our league finishing in the Top 25, or even five in the Top 10. Villanova and Georgetown are national title contenders, then there’s Providence and Syracuse that are always strong. But we have a roster that can compete with the best of them.”
A similar challenge will be present for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Nov. 12, but with a strong Princeton team added to the mix. With a solid finish at the regional, the Mountaineers look to qualify as a team for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21 for the fourth time in five seasons.
Sept. 3 ... Maryland Eastern Shore Lid-Lifter Invitational ... Princess Anne, Md.
Sept. 23 ... Inter-Regional Bubble Buster ... Toledo, Ohio
Oct. 1 ... Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic ... Louisville, Ky.
Oct. 14 ... Penn State National Invitational ... State College, Pa.
Oct. 29 ... BIG EAST Championships ... Louisville, Ky.
Nov. 12 ... NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional ... Princess Anne, Md.
Nov. 21 ... NCAA Championships ... Terre Haute, Ind.