Updated Thu, Oct 3, 2013 7:28 pm
The men's and women's cross-country teams will both travel to Notre Dame for the 58th Annual Notre Dame Invitational instead of splitting the teams in half to travel to two separate meets. The original schedule called for some of Ohio’s runners to travel to Notre Dame while the others would travel to Cedarville, Ohio, for the All-Ohio Championship.
The event will be held on Oct. 4 with the Bobcat men running an 8-kilometer race at 2:45 p.m. and the women running a 5-kilometer race at 4:15p.m. The races will be held on the Burke Golf Course.
On the men's side, the Bobcats are taking 14 runners to compete in the Gold Division race. This race will hold a mix of Division I, II and III schools with a few NAIA teams making appearances. The men will compete against some stiff competition, facing a nationally-ranked D-II opponent in Grand Valley State, who is ranked third overall in the nation. There will also be three D-III nationally-ranked schools in North Central College, Wabash and Calvin who are ranked first, 12th and 22nd, respectively.
In total, there will be 24 teams racing the men's Gold Division race. Other notable teams in the race are Central Michigan, a Mid-American Conference rival, who is ranked 14th in the Great Lakes Region, and IUPUI, who is ranked 10th.
Although there will be high-caliber competition, sophomore Jarrod Genther, who has led the 'Cats in two of the three races this year says the team has “high hopes."
"[I want] to open people's eyes,” he said, “and say we are for real and what happened at Miami (Ohio) wasn’t a fluke."
"[Our] top seven runners are a tight knit group that all are worth mentioning," said head coach Clay Calkins. "I think we will be ranked in the region after this week."
The women will also be running against some very strong competition. They will compete in the Blue Division race, which is limited to some of the highest D-I schools in the nation. Ohio is taking 15 runners to compete in the race.
There will be a total of eight D-I nationally-ranked schools in the women's race. The 'Cats will be facing familiar competition this week as they face Florida State, the second-ranked team in the nation, who they also ran against at the Wake Forest Invitational. The Bobcats finished second at that meet, behind only the Seminoles.
Other notable teams are Duke, ranked fourth nationally; New Mexico, who comes in at No. 15; and the invitational’s host, Notre Dame, who is ranked 19th nationally. Rounding out the nationally-ranked teams competing in the race are Butler, San Francisco, BYU and Princeton who are ranked 20th, 24th, 28th and 30th, respectively. The 'Cats will also be facing four ranked interregional foes.
Senior Juli Accurso said the most important part of this meet is, "to take away from it and build the rest of our season upon this meet." She said she wants everyone to learn from it in order to better themselves later in the year.
Calkins sang the praises of the veteran crew on the women's side. He said that the team as a whole is making steps forward.
"[We want to] counter what they're offering,” said Calkins, “and do our due diligence and try to knock off some of those teams."
In 2012, both the men and women competed in this same invitational. The men captured the ninth spot as a team and Genther posted a time of 25:06. The best finisher for the men in 2012 that is set to return is Timothy Hird from North Central College, who finished ninth overall. The women took home the 14th position. Accurso led the 'Cats with a second place overall finish with a time of 16:35. Colleen Quigley, from Florida State won the meet last year and she will be returning this year.