It's mid-September and the wait is finally over for men's and women's cross country as they begin their 2017 season by traveling to UMass Dartmouth for the UMass Dartmouth Invitational. The women's team brings back quite an experienced group, returning six runners to the squad while welcoming in three freshmen. The men's side is nearly opposite the women, returning just two runners while welcoming six freshmen.
The women will run the standard 5k distance on Saturday, starting by the athletic fields on the south side of campus. The majority of the first mile will be run along the athletic facilities at UMass Dartmouth. At the first mile mark, competitors will turn left near the UMass Dartmouth Wind Turbine and head in the direction of Cedar Dell Lake. After a brief run along the lakeside, competitors will work their way back to the main campus, eventually completing the second mile in the near geographical center of the campus. Competitors will once again see the wind turbine and make a left toward the home stretch. Approximately the final three-quarters of a mile, competitors will run back along the athletic fields before a race in the final 100 meters next to the campus track determines the winner.
Women's Cross Country Course (Courtesy UMass Dartmouth Athletics)
The men will compete in a standard 8k following the women's race, starting from the same location and running the same course as the women until approximately mile two. Unlike the women who turn left at the turbine to head for home, the men will turn right, making their way to the north side of campus. Competitors will run nearly a mile before turning around and heading back toward the finish with two miles to go. Competitors will again see the turbine in front of them and will take a right, bringing them back toward Cedar Dell Lake. After the lakeside run and emerging from the woodsy terrain, competitors will run along the outside of the athletic fields before making a turn to the final 100-meter dash to give us a final result.
Men's Cross Country Course (Courtesy UMass Dartmouth Athletics)
Saturday looks like a very nice race day, partly cloudy with temperatures hovering in the low-70s.