WEEKEND PREVIEW: Harry Groves Spiked Shoe & More

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Harry Groves Spiked Shoe & More

NEW ORLEANS — Cross country is back in full force and with the earlier countable period, teams are extra vigilant about when and where they compete early in the season.

The countable period usually started in late September, but this year it was moved up to early September in order to increase the competitive nature of these early-season meets.

QUICK LINKS: This Weekend’s Schedule

It appears to have paid off if you take a gander at the start lists for the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational, hosted by Penn State on Saturday.

On the men’s side, top-ranked Syracuse goes up against No. 7 Georgetown and No. 11 Oklahoma State, among others.

Looking at the women’s race, eighth-ranked Oklahoma State squares off with the 13th-ranked Nittany Lions, No. 15 Syracuse and No. 19 Georgetown.

Breaking down the men’s race further, it’s possible that we could see as many as 15 competitors from NCAAs last year toe the line.

The Orange could bring four members of its championship team (Colin Bennie, Philo Germano, Joel Hubbard and Justyn Knight) as well as two transfers (Iliass Aouani from Lamar and Adam Visokay from Virginia). The Hoyas welcome back all seven runners from NCAAs (Christian Alvarado, Amos Bartelsmeyer, Ahmed Bile, Scott Cartpenter, Darren Fahy, Jonathan Green and Michael Lederhouse), while the Cowboys have three returners (Cerake Geberkidane, Brigham Hedges and Joshua Thompson).

Bennie won last year’s individual title on his way to a breakout season and Michigan took the team title over eventual national champion Syracuse.

We could see as many as 22 athletes from the women’s race at NCAAs last year on Saturday in State College, Pennsylvania.

The Cowgirls return their entire roster from their 7th-place team finish (Natalie Baker, Anna Boyert, Aurora Dybedokken, Kaela Edwards, Abbie Hetherington, Ingeborg Loevnes and Molly Sughroue). Six of Penn State’s runners return to the fold (Stephanie Aldrich, Tessa Barrett, Elizabeth Chikotas, Jillian Hunsberger, Julie Kocjancic and Greta Lindsley). We could see as many as six Hoyas from last year (Audrey Belf, Piper Donaghu, Autumn Eastman, Haley Pierce and Kennedy Weisner) in addition to four from Syracuse (Stephanie Bitcon, Sydney Leiher, Mary Malone and Rebecca Skodis).

There will be a new individual champion crowned in the women’s race as Penn State’s Tori Gerlach exhausted her eligibility. The Nittany Lions are also looking to win their fifth consecutive meet title, a streak that dates back to 2012.

Around The Nation: We’re also keeping an eye on the Sycamore Invitational this weekend as we’ll see two men’s ranked teams in action (No. 3 Northern Arizona and No. 18 Michigan) as well as one ranked women’s team (No. 9 Michigan). … The only other meet with two nationally ranked teams in action will be the Fordham Fiasco/Ed Joyce Memorial Invitational, where the No. 23 Princeton women go up against the No. 29 Yale women.