Aug. 30, 2012
HOUSTON - The University of Houston men's and women's cross country teams will open their 2012 schedule Friday at the Houston Invitational. The Cougars will compete against host Houston Baptist at MacGregor Park.
"Practice has been going very well," assistant track and field coach Will Blackburn said. "The student-athletes have worked hard this summer in preparing for the season. The returners as well as the freshmen are in good shape and are all excited about the season."
Eight newcomers will join 14 returners on the 2012 squad. One senior, Kathryn Ducommun, a top-20 finisher in last year's season opener, along with two juniors, four sophomores and one freshman will make up the women's side.
This year's men's squad features seven returners, including sophomore Yonas Tesfai, and seven newcomers. Tesfai, who was eighth at last year's Conference USA Championship, had four top-10 finishes in 2011, including a first-place win in last year's season opener at UH.
The format of the Invitational is a six-mile relay. Each relay team will have two members running 1.5 miles each. The course will be a one-mile loop with relay exchanges at the start/finish line and half-mile mark. Coaches are responsible for splits. A total relay time will be provided for each two-member team. The women will begin at 6:15 p.m., followed by the men at 7:00 p.m. MacGregor Park is located at 5225 Calhoun, Houston, Texas 77021. The Invitational is free and open to all fans.
"This meet will give the team an opportunity to compete in a relay style cross country race, which makes for a fun, competitive, team building atmosphere," Blackburn said. "It will give the student-athletes and coaches an assessment on their strengths and weakness."
The Huskies will welcome five newcomers and return 15 letterwinners, including the 2011 Great West Cross Country champion, Matt Perri, to the team. Last year, HBU men finished third, while the women finished fifth at the Conference Championship in Grand Forks, N.D. HBU men were ranked 15th in the South Central Region of USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Regional Cross Country Preseason rankings.
UP NEXT The Cougars will take a week off from competing in preparation for the Rice Invitational on Sept. 14. The women will run a 4K course on the Rice campus, slated to start at 6:15 p.m. The men's 6K race is set for 6:45 p.m.