The Warm-Up Lap: DII Opening Weekend Takes Center Stage
NEW ORLEANS – Divisions I and III had all of the NCAA cross country fun last weekend during their opening weekends to the 2013 season, but now it is Division II’s turn to join the party with the official opening of its season today.
Nearly 120 collegiate meets around the country are scheduled for this first full weekend of September including the 2013 debuts of many of the country’s top Division II programs and some teams from Divisions I and III that opted to defer their debuts to this week. See the full schedule at the USTFCCCA Infozone Meets This Weekend page.
Highlights of the Division II opening weekend includes the division’s first 2013 head-to-head match-up of top-10 teams at the Colorado State Invitational, where the No. 2 Western State men will take on No. 6 Colorado Mines. The No. 3 Western State women will also compete.
In addition, this weekend will play host to home meets for top-10 teams at Adams State (No. 1 men, No. 2 women), Augustana (S.D.) (No. 3 men, No. 4 women), Shippensburg (No. 6 women), UC-Colorado Springs (No. 8 women) and Southern Indiana (No. 10 men).
Top-10 teams starting 2013 on the road include Missouri Southern (No. 7 men), Alaska Anchorage (No. 7 women, No. 9 men), Edinboro (No. 8 men) and Winona State (No. 9 women).
A majority of Division I’s top ten men’s and women’s teams are off this weekend after many used the opening weekend to shake off some rust. However, from among those who are competing cross country fans will get a first look at defending women’s champion No. 3 Oregon and men’s preseason No. 2 Northern Arizona for the first time in 2013. The reloaded Ducks will compete at the Portland State Viking Classic — along with the No. 8 Portland men — while NAU hosts its George Kyte Classic.
Arizona will also send its No. 7 women’s and unranked men’s teams to compete at NAU, though it is unlikely 2011 NCAA men’s champ and current The Bowerman finalist Lawi Lalang will compete.
The weekend will also feature home meets for Arkansas (No. 5 men, No. 9 women) and Wisconsin (No. 7 men), and will see the No. 9 Syracuse men in action at Colgate.
The Division III schedule is equally light as Division I’s with approximately half of the top ten men’s and women’s programs on the sidelines this weekend. And for those teams that are competing this weekend, the early stages of the season provide creative opportunities for runners to get their legs under them.
Take, for example, the Williams Coed Relays. Williams (No. 4 women, No. 8 men) will host Middlebury (No. 10 women, No. 25 men) and Southern Vermont in a race that features teams of one male and one female runner alternating relay legs over the course of 12K. The men start out with a 3K leg, followed by a 3K leg for the women’s. The men take the course again for a 2K, then the women run a 2K leg of their own before they hand it off to the men for the final 2K leg.
Meanwhile, defending men’s champ and preseason No. 1 North Central (Ill.) men will make their 2013 debut at the Aurora Invitational and the No. 2 Haverford men start 2013 by hosting its own Alumni/Open race. The No. 6 Bates men will take on Colby in a dual, while No. 7 Central (Iowa) plays host to the Dutch Invitational.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, ranked No. 5 in the women’s National Coaches Poll, kicks off its campaign at the CMS-Westmont Nationball Classic, while UW-Eau Claire (No. 6 women, No. 10 men) opens its season at home with an Alumni Open. Rounding out the top-10 action in DIII this week are the No. 9 St. Lawrence women, who continue their season at the Pittsburgh Invitational.
From the Wire
What’s hot in the world of track & field and cross country this week? Here’s what the USTFCCCA has been following:
- Tragic News: Wilmington College standout runner Jenna Parlette Passes Away During Race
- Track & Field News NCAA XC Previews: Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview
- Dartmouth’s D’Agostino Looks for Another National Title
- The Wood Report’s preseason NCAA Cross Country Top 31 Countdown
- Running Times’ preseason profile of 2012 NCAA Division I men’s XC champ OK State starts full-season feature
- "16 2 1 and Beyond" Docu-Series Profiles the Rise of NCAA Division III Defending Men’s Champ and Preseason Favorite North Central (Ill.)
- Illinois to Celebrate 100th Year of Cross Country
- California Rim Fire Shuts Down University of Nevada Practice
- DII CSU-Pueblo bringing back men’s track & field and cross country program next year
- George Washington Athletics to Reinstate Diving, Track
- ACC favorites for cross country crowns are Syracuse men, Florida State women barely over Duke
- DIII’s Presidents’ Athletic Conference adding indoor track & field as official sport
- Looking Ahead to the 2014 Armory Invitational
- American Track Legends Webb and Flanagan join Portland State Staff as Volunteer Assistants
- Oregon Track and Field adds Curtis Taylor to Coaching Staff
- Jody Stewart named track and field associate head coach at Stanford
- Blaine Maag announced as Michigan State assistant coach for throws
- North Dakota Breaks Ground on New Athletics Training Center (Includes Indoor Track & Field Complex)