Aug 29, 2013
Park Ridge, Ill. -
The Big Ten men's and women's cross country seasons are set to begin this weekend, with four men’s and women’s conference teams taking to the course for the first time on Friday.
Illinois and Michigan will each host meets on Friday. Illinois hosts the Illini Challenge, while the Wolverines welcome teams to the Michigan Open, including conference foe Purdue. Michigan State will travel to the Jeff Drenth Memorial in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
The Ohio State team and the Northwestern women’s squad will hit the road on Saturday, with the Buckeyes traveling to Dayton, Ohio for the Flyer 5K Challenge and the Wildcats participating in the UIC Home Opener in Palos Heights, Ill.
Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin will all open the season on their respective home courses next weekend. The Hawkeyes will welcome competitors to the Iowa Open, while the Golden Gophers are set to host the Oz Memorial. The Badgers will compete in the Badger Opener on Sept. 6, and the Hoosiers host the Indiana Open on Sept. 7.
Nebraska and Penn State will open their seasons on the road next Friday, with the Huskers traveling to the Augustana Twilight in Sioux Falls, S.D., and the Nittany Lions taking part in the Dolan Duals in Lock Haven, Pa.
Entering the season, the conference boasts eight total teams ranked in the top 30 nationally. 2012 NCAA runner-up and Big Ten Champion Wisconsin is ranked seventh in the men's poll, followed by No. 20 Indiana, No. 26 Michigan and No. 30 Michigan State. Illinois is also receiving votes in the poll.
Penn State leads the way in the women's rankings, checking in at No. 11. Michigan State follows at No. 13, Michigan is No. 17 and Minnesota is No. 19.