The 2012 competition schedule for the Seattle University cross country team was announced Thursday, featuring the squad's first season in the Western Athletic Conference as well as its eligibility for the NCAA regional meet.
For the second straight year, the Redhawks will begin the season with a dual meet against the Washington Huskies, set for Friday, Aug. 31, at Magnuson Park starting at 4 p.m.
The top Seattle U runners for both the men's team and women's team will head to Indiana for the National Catholic Championship, hosted by Notre Dame at the Notre Dame Golf Course Friday, Sept. 14. The 29th annual women's race will be five kilometers, while the 33rd annual men's event is set for five miles. The remainder of the Redhawk squad will compete at the UW Sundodger Invitational Saturday, Sept. 15, at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.
"Competing at the National Catholic Championships is something I've been wanting our team to do since I started here at Seattle U," Trisha Steidl, head cross country coach, said. "This will provide the team an opportunity early in the season to be mentally and physically challenged, rather than having to wait until the end of the season, while still keeping our focus on the post-season. Additionally, this is a cool and fun opportunity for the team to represent our university amongst other Catholic institutions from across the nation!"
After a two week break, Seattle U enters another event for the first time, the Bill Dellinger Invitational hosted by the University of Oregon at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 29.
The Redhawks will host the annual Emerald City Open at Lower Woodland Park Saturday, Oct. 13, featuring the six-kilometer women's race, the eight-kilometer men's race, and the two-kilometer fun run. The regular season will conclude with the Beaver Classic at Avery Park in Corvallis, Ore., Saturday, Oct. 20.
After three years in the Great West Conference, the Seattle University cross country program will move to the Western Athletic Conference. The 2012 WAC Championships will be hosted by Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La., Saturday, Oct. 27, and will also feature defending men's champion Utah State, defending women's champion Idaho, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Texas-Arlington, Texas-San Antonio, and Texas State.
The Seattle U cross country team will compete in an NCAA Division I postseason competition for the first time in program history, and the runners will not have to travel far for that race. The 2012 NCAA West Regional will take place at Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle Saturday, Nov. 10. Anyone who advances past the regional will head to Louisville, Ky., for the 2012 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships Saturday, Nov. 17.
"Our schedule this year is reflective of our post-season opportunities. Now that we have completed the transition to Division I and are eligible for the NCAA championship meets, there are things we need to do within the season to be prepared for those meets. I've specifically chosen meets that will help prepare us for our first regional meet," said Steidl. "We want to compete as well as we possibly can there. The West Region is the toughest in the country. To have a chance of qualifying someone to Nationals, we have to do all we can throughout the season to be prepared for our first regional meet experience. It's a tough road, but I've got guys who are returning for this opportunity this year and I owe it to them to do everything in my power to prepare them as best as possible. This schedule will help them towards their goals as well as help our entire team grow and experience what it takes to make the next step."
The 2012 Seattle University cross country team is expected to be led on the men's side by redshirt seniors Erik Barkhaus (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) and Matthew McClement (Bellingham, Wash.), while senior Lauren Hammerle (Seattle, Wash.) and junior Hannah Mittelstaedt (Maple Valley, Wash.) should pace the women's squad.