15th Cross Country Classic at Sawyer State Park Features 3,000 Runners from 138 Colleges
Louisville, Ky. – September 29, 2016 – The Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) will host 138 colleges and universities from 29 states and Canada in the 15th Annual Louisville Sports Commission Cross Country Classic, which is tracking to be the largest college meet in the United States in 2016. The Cross Country Classic will be held Sat., Oct. 1 at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park and will bring together many of the top college cross country programs in the nation, as almost 3,000 athletes are expected to compete. The overall quality of the participating teams and individual student-athletes once again will be strong as the meet will feature 29 men’s teams and 36 women’s teams currently ranked in the following collegiate cross country polls: NCAA Division I Regional and National, NCAA Division II National, NCAA Division III National and NAIA.
The first of six races will start at 9:30 a.m. with the final race at 12:45 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. Men will run eight kilometers; women will run five kilometers with the exception of the women’s Silver race, which will be six kilometers.
The Cross Country Classic will serve as the pre-nationals for the 2016 NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Cross Country National Championship, hosted by the LSC and Spalding University on Nov. 19 at Sawyer State Park.
“The Cross Country Classic continues to attract high-level competition, and this year we are pleased to welcome a number of NCAA Division III teams that will be with us for the first time,” said David Lawhorn, who has served as meet director since the meet’s inception in 2001.
The afternoon Silver races will feature several highly ranked NCAA D-III teams from across the country. On the men’s side, number one-ranked North Central (IL) will be tested by number five Pomona-Pitzer (CA), number 12 Carnegie Mellon and four other nationally ranked D-III schools. On the women’s side, which will be run at the national championship distance of six kilometers, number 12 St. Thomas (MN), number 15 Hope (MI), number 16 Emory (GA) and number 18 Stevens (NJ) will battle for the women’s Silver team title. The John Hopkins women’s team, ranked number three in Division III, will compete in the morning’s Gold race.
The men’s Gold race appears to be wide open, featuring a strong Virginia Tech team, currently ranked number four in the USTFCCCA NCAA D-I Southeast Regional Coaches Poll; one of the best Canadian schools in University of Guelph; Middle Tennessee State, currently ranked number three in the NCAA D-I South Region in the Coaches Poll; Atlantic Coast Conference power University of Louisville, currently ranked number seven in the USTFCCCA D-I Southeast Region coaches poll; and NCAA D-II power Grand Valley State, currently ranked number two in the NCAA D-II Coaches Poll.
Individually, the men’s Gold race is shaping up as a clash of several of the top college runners in the country. The lead pack should include Wisconsin-Platteville’s Ian LaMere (10,000 meter personal record of 28:38.63 and a four-time NCAA D-III National Champion), University of Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy (3,000 meter Steeple personal record 8:30.71) and Middle Tennessee State newcomer Jacob Choge.
The women’s Gold race will showcase the University of Michigan, currently ranked number 10 in the NCAA D-I National Coaches Poll, who will go off as the favorite to defend its 2015 Cross Country Classic team title. Canadian schools University of Guelph and University of Toronto should lead the pack of contenders, along with Virginia Tech, currently ranked number four in the USTFCCCA NCAA D-I Southeast Regional Coaches Poll and NCAA D-II power Grand Valley State, currently ranked number one in the NCAA D-II Coaches Poll.
In the Gold division, the women’s individual competition should be evenly matched among several top collegiate runners in the United States and Canada. Expected to contend for top-five placing on Sat. should be Michigan’s Erin Finn (5,000 meter personal record 15:23.08 and 2015 Classic Cross Country champion), Virginia Tech’s Shannon Martin, University of Guelph’s Katrina Allison, University of Toronto’s Gabriela Stafford and Grand Valley State’s (MI) Kendra Foley (5,000 meter personal record 16:36.42 and 2014 D-II cross country national champion).
Again this year, there will be highly competitive high school and middle school races contested following the college events. More than 2,000 runners from Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio high schools are expected to compete with the first race at 1:30 pm.
For additional information, please contact Troy Killian (502) 587-7767 or David Lawhorn at (502) 330-1933.
COLLEGE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Men’s Gold race 9:30 am
Women’s Gold race 10:15 am
Men’s Blue race 10:45 am
Women’s Blue race 11:30 am
Men’s Silver race 12:00 pm
Women’s Silver race 12:45 pm
High School events start at 1:30 pm
E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park