By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's and women's cross county teams will host the 2016 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championship this coming Friday, Nov. 11th, at their very own Blue and White Golf Courses.
The Blue and White courses will serve as the site for both the women's 6-kilometer and the men's 10-kilometer championship races.
2014 was the last time Penn State hosted the Mid-Atlantic Regional, where Villanova won as a team on the men's side and Georgetown won on the women's.
Last year, when the race was held in Princeton, N.J. That time, the Penn State women's team came out victorious with Tessa Barrett, Tori Gerlach and Elizabeth Chikotas in the top ten finishers.
Having the race at their home course this year, the women think they will have even more of a chance to win this championship meet again.
"Being on our course for the third time this year, and not just that but it's our home course, we definitely have a little edge because we train there a lot and we know how to run it," said junior Elizabeth Chikotas.
"We've had experience on it, and since we get to do workouts on it I think that's beneficial. Some of teams coming maybe have never seen it," said junior Greta Lindsley. "The first part of the race is all downhill but we know that you have to save something for that last half, so I think it's definitely beneficial."
"We are mentally preparing too because we know what to expect and some of the other teams might not know," she added.
Coming off a second place finish at the Big Ten Championships, the women hope to use that meet to drive them to win this regional championship.
"We took down some strong teams at Big Tens, so I think that momentum will help us. We didn't lose by a large margin so just the momentum of knowing that we can hang with the top teams is definitely helpful with preparing for this upcoming race," said Lindsley.
On the men's side, even though the race moves from a usual 8-kilometer race to a 10-kilometer race, they still believe that their home course will serve as an advantage.
"I think it'll be an advantage because we aren't on some other course where we have to know about it for only one day. The fact that we've known this course for many years will be an advantage for us," said junior John McGowan.
"I think that the Penn State National meet proved that this is a tough course. It's probably one of the hardest courses around or I would even say in the NCAA. The fact that we train on it every day just gives us that advantage and that knowledge over everyone," said John's twin brother, junior Tim McGowan.
Although they are racing on their home course, this 2-kilometer change in race length will cause the men to approach the way they race a little different than usual.
"We'll definitely try to handle it a little differently since it's a 10k, whether we start off in the back or start off in the middle of the pack. We're all going to try to stay together as a group and try to move up at the same time," said John McGowan.
"Obviously, it's a smaller field, the competition is a lot better so we're just going to try to do what we usually do. Me and Colin are going to find each other up at the front but not be too aggressive. The guys in the back are going to find each other and see whenever it turns over," added Tim McGowan.
The championship meet will take place this Friday, Nov. 11th at Penn State's home Blue and White course, where the women's race is set to start at 12 p.m. and the men following at 1 p.m.