LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - - University of Louisville head coach Ron Mann released the 2012 cross country schedule on Friday, highlighted by three meets on Cardinals’ home course, including the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
“We’re excited to host this many prominent meets in the state of Kentucky, especially the national championships,” Mann said. “Arguably, this is our best schedule we’ve put together.
“The national championships will be great for the city. Louisville has always been a running community and now, to not only have the University of Louisville, but all of the top schools coming here a couple times for pre-nationals and nationals is going to give the viewing public of cross country the opportunity to see elite competition and a promising event.”
The University of Louisville and the city of Louisville will be first time hosts of the NCAA Division I Championships this season. The city previously played host to the 2010 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships and the Division I Southeast Region five of the last six years, including 2011. For nine of the last 10 years, the Division I championships have taken place just north in Terre Haute, Ind.
Louisville opens its campaign for the sixth-straight year at the Mid-America Opener in Evansville, Ind., on the campus of the University of Evansville on Sept. 1. Last season, propelled by Tyler Byrne’s first-place finish, the men captured the team title, while the women’s squad placed second.
After being idle for nearly two weeks, the squads trek east on Sept. 15 to participate in the 26th annual Winthrop Invitational in Winthrop, S.C. Louisville’s last appearance at the meet was in 2008. Both the men’s and women’s squads secured team victories, while Scott McClain and TarahMcKay won individual titles in their respective races.
The Cardinals then head back to Louisville for consecutive meets at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.
On Sept. 29, the Cardinals will race in the eighth annual Greater Louisville Classic, hosted by the Louisville Sports Commission. The men’s squad fell just short last season of winning its third-straight team title at the meet, placing second. Individually, Byrne registered his second victory of the year at the meet, becoming just the second Cardinal to win the individual title.
Two weeks later on Oct. 13, the Cardinals return to their home course for the Pre-Nationals meet, an event that serves as a pre-cursor for the national championships. The meet, which is being held in the city of Louisville for the first time, features powerhouses such as Florida State, Oklahoma State, Colorado and Texas.
Louisville concludes the month of October with the BIG EAST Championships. The event will be held on Oct. 26 in Bronx, N.Y., with St. John’s University serving as the host. In 2011, the event took place in Louisville, and the Cardinals’ men’s squad was edged by Georgetown for runner-up honors by two points.
The Cardinals’ men’s and women’s squads will have another opportunity to bolster their bids for the national championships, as the teams are slated to compete at the NCAA Southeast Regional on Nov. 9. The meet, which has taken place in Louisville the last three years, will be held in Charlotte, N.C