Cross country looks toward 2012

The schedule for the men’s and women’s cross country teams was released on July 17, and by the looks of it, the Owls will have a great opportunity to take advantage of some home field advantage.

The fall season will kick off Sept. 15 with the Friend Invitational at Belmont Plateau, the practice course used by both teams. After the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University and the Leopard Invitational at Lafayette University, the men’s and women’s teams will return again to Belmont Plateau on Oct. 27 for the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships. The teams will look to improve upon their results from last year at the A-10’s, where the men and women placed 10th and 12th, respectively, in the 14-team race.

Distance coach Matt Jelley is happy to see his teams get a chance to play at a location they are familiar with.

“That’s real exciting to be home,” Jelley said. “The last few years, we’ve had to travel a lot—to places like Pittsburgh and St. Louis—so it’s nice to be home and not have to experience things like jet lag or anything like that.”

After the A-10’s, the Owls will head west to Penn State for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships on Nov. 9. A week later, the men’s and women’s teams will close out their season as they compete in the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America and Eastern Collegiate Association Conference Championships, respectively. Last season, the women’s team earned a school record 15th place finish at the ICA4’s, while the men dropped to fifth place two years removed from a first-place finish in 2010.

The men’s squad will look to bounce back this season after what Jelley called a “rebuilding year.” Part of the reason for the drop off in 2011 was the redshirting of All-American Travis Mahoney. Mahoney will return this fall, and Jelley thinks his reemergence will give the team the boost they need to succeed.

“There are a lot of people who probably think [Mahoney] graduated and don’t realize he is still running cross country,” Jelley said. “There’s also the fact that the team wasn’t as good last year without him. When he comes back, that’s going to be a big shot in the arm for us.”

On the women’s side, Jelley continues to expect “big things” from sophomore Jenna Dubrow, who will attempt to continue her torrid streak, having ranked at the top of the team in every one of her collegiate meets thus far. Jelley is hopeful that Dubrow and her teammates will contribute towards the continued evolution of the team and program.

“We’ve been young for a while. Now we have both the talent and the experience,” Jelley said. “That’s going to pay dividends, and the fans and alumni are going to be pleasantly surprised with just how hard this team has worked.”

Here’s a look at the complete schedule for the 2012 men’s and women’s cross country season.

9/15/2012 Friend Invitational Belmont Plateau (Philadelphia, Pa.) All Day Details
9/28/2012 Paul Short Invitational Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pa.) All Day Details
10/13/2012 Leopard Invitational Lafayette University (Easton, Pa.) All Day Details
10/27/2012 Atlantic 10 Championships Belmont Plateau (Philadelphia, Pa.) All Day Details
11/9/2012 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships Penn State (State College, Pa.) All Day Details
11/17/2012 IC4A Championships Van Courtland Park (Bronx, N.Y.) All Day Details
11/19/2012 NCAA Championships Louisville University (Louisville, Kent.)

Avery Maehrer