Oct. 18, 2003
WATERLOO, Iowa - The men's and women's cross country teams are set to take on some of the country's best programs today, as part of the NCAA Pre-Nationals in Waterloo, Iowa. Hosted by Northern Iowa, the meet showcases nearly 150 Division I teams from across the country. Maryland has never competed in the event, but with strong performances thus far in the season, the squads have shown they're ready for the competition.
Annually it is the largest Division I meet in the country, and showcases many of the top schools, and this year is no exception. On the men's side, 18 of the nation's top 25 teams are participating, including ACC foes Virginia and NC State, who are currently ranked No. 16 and 21, respectively. The women will face an equally tough field- they will run against 14 of the top 25 teams, including conference rivals NC State, Virginia and Wake Forest. NC State and Wake Forest are currently at No. 6 and 15 in the country.
"This meet is huge," said Maryland coach Trent Sanderson. "It will give us a chance to compete against many of the top teams in the country and give our runners a chance to showcase their talents individually."
The Pre-National meet serves as a testing ground for the NCAA Championships, which will also be held at the Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course in Waterloo, Iowa. Automatic bids are given to the top two teams in each of the nine regions. From there, 13 at-large teams will be invited, as well as 38 individual runners. Pre-Nationals gives officials the chance to study the potential field.
"We're reading for the challenge," Sanderson said. "People are stepping up every day and I'm excited to see how we fair in the face of the competition."
Because the field of runners is so large, the men and women will be divided into separate groups, who will then run in the Purple or Gold race. The teams were placed into the groups alphabetically and there is no difference in status between the two.
Results will be available following the last race here on www.umterps.com.
Race Schedule for Saturday, Oct. 18
11:00 a.m. -- Men's 8,000 meters -- Purple Race
11:40 a.m. -- Men's 8,000 meters -- Gold Race
12:20 p.m. -- Women's 6,000 meters -- Purple Race
12:55 p.m. -- Women's 6,000 meters -- Gold Race
1:35 p.m. -- Men's Open Race
2:15 p.m. -- Women's Open Race