Sept. 2, 2009
Fifteen Big Ten cross country teams will open the 2009 season this weekend. Seven men’s squads and eight women’s will take to the course to begin the fall campaign.
On Friday, four men’s teams will launch the season from their home courses as Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Purdue prepare to host their opening invitationals. On the road, the Penn State harriers will compete in the Lock Haven Invitational, while Michigan State travels to Mount Pleasant, Mich., for the Drenth Memorial hosted by Central Michigan. On Saturday, Minnesota will open its season at the St. Olaf Opener in Northfield, Minn.
Indiana and Wisconsin will both start their seasons the following weekend, Sept. 12-13, and Ohio State will journey to Boone, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 18, to open the campaign at the Mountaineer Open.
On the women’s side, eight teams are slated to begin competition this weekend. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue take to the course on Friday at various sites, while Minnesota and Ohio State will see their first action on Saturday. The remaining three women’s squads will open the following weekend on Sept. 12-13, with Indiana hosting in Bloomington, Ind., and Northwestern and Wisconsin traveling to DeKalb, Ill., to compete in the Huskie Open hosted by Northern Illinois.
Five Big Ten men’s and women’s cross country teams finished in the top 15 at the NCAA Championships last season. With a fourth-place finish in 2008, the Wisconsin men’s team (229) improved its streak to ten-straight top-five finishes in the national event, while the Golden Gophers amassed 385 team points to finish in 15th place. The Fighting Illini (318) led all women’s schools with a tenth-place finish, followed closely by Michigan State and Minnesota, which finished in a tie for 11th place with 336 team points.