Head coach Scott Jerome announced the men’s and women’s cross country teams’ competition schedule for the upcoming 2013 season on Tuesday afternoon, which includes its annual home meet, a trip to Hawaii and a few trips to Great Northwest Athletic Conference schools.
“It’s a good schedule, we like having a meet every other weekend,” Jerome said. “We have back-to-back at the beginning of the year but that’s not a big deal for us. It’s a real advantageous schedule for training, travel, class work and missed school time, so I think it’s a really good schedule for the student-athletes.”
The Nanooks will once again host the Alaska Nanooks Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 5 and 7 at the West Ridge Trails on campus as GNAC foes Montana State Billings and Seattle Pacific will join host Alaska in the meet. Day one will see the women’s six-kilometer and men’s eight-kilometer races and both runs on the final day are four-kilometer races.
Alaska will trek to the tropics on Sept. 14 when it competes in the Big Wave Invitational, hosted by the University of Hawaii in Kaneohe. Two weeks later, the ‘Nooks will once again return to the Saint Martin’s University Cross Country Invitational in Lacey, Wash. The regular-season slate concludes Oct. 12 in Bellingham, Wash., for the running of the 40th annual Western Cross Country Classic.
“It’s fun to go back to places we’ve been before like Lacey and Bellingham,” Jerome said. “It’s good to go places you’ve run before where some of the older team members will have a feel for the course and instruct the younger teammates on it a little bit. We like to adventure to new places too, which is why we’re going to the Big Wave Invitational. We’ve been to Hawaii but haven’t done the University of Hawaii meet, so we’re looking forward to seeing a new course over there.”
The 2013 GNAC Championships is back in Monmouth, Ore., at the Ash Creek Preserve cross country course as Western Oregon will once again host the conference meet. The NCAA West Region Championships is set for Nov. 9 at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex in Spokane, Wash.
The top four west region programs and other select individuals will return to Spokane on Nov. 23 to battle the best around the country at the NCAA Championships. The last time both the region and national races were held in Spokane, which was 2011, Alaska’s runners finished fourth at the West Region race and qualified for the NCAA meet as a full team for the first time in program history.
“There are a few women on the team who have experienced that,” Jerome said of the 2011 NCAA Championship. “Alyson McPhetres, leading the way, was a freshman when they qualified, so I know she’ll be excited to be back there and has good memories of that course.”
“We’re taking this season one race at a time,” Jerome said. “We have new recruits coming in and some quality runners returning. We’ll train well and not get ahead of ourselves.”