Big Ten Cross Country Opens 2011 Slate This Weekend
Sept. 1, 2011
Big Ten men's and women's cross country begin the 2011 schedule this weekend, with seven conference teams taking to the course for the first time on Friday.
Illinois, Iowa and Michigan each host meets to open competition on Friday. Illinois hosts the Illini Challenge, while Iowa welcomes teams to the Iowa Open and Michigan hosts the Michigan Open. Michigan State travels to the Jeff Drenth Memorial in Mount Pleasant, Mich., while the Northwestern women's team competes in Valparaiso's Crusader Open.
Penn State and Purdue also open the season on Friday as the Nittany Lions travel to the Lock Haven Dolan Duals and the Boilermakers compete in the Illini Challenge. Nebraska travels to its first meet as a Big Ten team on Saturday, competing in the Creighton/UNO Classic.
Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin each open their schedules on their home courses next weekend. The Golden Gophers host the Oz Memorial and the Badgers compete in the Badger Opener on Sept. 9, while the Hoosiers welcome competitors to the Hoosier Open on Sept. 10. Ohio State begins the season at the Appalachian State Invitational on Sept. 16.
Entering the season, the conference boasts four men's and five women's teams ranked in the top 30 nationally. Wisconsin is ranked third nationally in the men's poll, followed by No. 8 Indiana, No. 25 Ohio State and No. 27 Minnesota. Michigan leads the way in the women's rankings, checking in at No. 13. Penn State follows at No. 18, while No. 28 Iowa, No. 29 Michigan State and No. 30 Minnesota round out the poll.