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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Head coach John Gondak released the 2016 cross country schedule Thursday afternoon with several key meets slated for the Nittany Lions.
The Nittany Lions are set to compete in five regular season meets followed by the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis, MN, the Mid-Atlantic Regional hosted by Penn State, and the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, IN to wrap up post-season competition.
“As we set up the schedule for the fall, Coach Reckart and I wanted to challenge our team during the regular season so we would be at our best come post-season. I am excited about the challenging schedule that lies ahead for Penn State Cross Country and am eager to get the season started!”
The 2016 campaign begins for Penn State as it traditionally does when they travel 45 minutes north to Lock Haven, Pa., for the Dolan Duals against Lock Haven University on Friday Sept. 2.
Following the season opener, The Nittany Lions will return home to host the Spiked Shoe Invitational in University Park.
The Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational is slated for Sept. 10 at the Blue-White Golf Course. Last year at the Spike Shoe Invitational, the Nittany Lion women’s team brought home a first-place finish for the second year in-a-row while the men finished in third-place behind 2015 NCAA Champion Syracuse.
After the Spiked Shoe Invitational the Nittany Lions take a week off before traveling to Minneapolis, MN for the Griak Invite on Sept. 24, exactly five years to the date from the last time Penn State ran at the Griak Invite in what is one of the largest meets in the country year in and year out.
The following week, Penn State will hit the road to compete in the Notre Dame Invite (Sept. 30) in South Bend, IN where current Nittany Lion Elizabeth Chikotas led the women’s team to a fifth-place finish as a true freshman back in 2014.
Penn State will wrap up the regular season portion of the schedule as they host the Penn State National on Friday Oct. 14 in University Park.
“I am thrilled this year that we are having the Penn State National Invite return to a high level competition right here in Happy Valley,” said Gondak.
“It was one of the premier meets in the country for many years but has tailed off some over the last few seasons. However, with the likes of Oklahoma State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Texas, West Virginia, Villanova, William and Mary and others coming in for the meet – it will be one of the best meets in the country that weekend.”
This year’s Big Ten Championships will be hosted by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN on Oct. 30 where the Penn State women’s team will look to defend their 2015 Big Ten Championship from last year in Chicago, Ill.
Following the Big Ten Championships, the Nittany Lions return home for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships hosted by Penn State on Nov. 11. At the 2015 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships, the Penn State women’s team captured the regional championship and the Nittany Lion men’s team finished fifth.
The 2016 cross country season comes to a close on Nov. 19 with the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN. Last year, redshirt-freshman Tessa Barrett was an NCAA Cross Country All-American finishing 38th at the championships in Louisville, Ky. while the women’s team recorded a 16th-place finish – the second highest since 2012.
For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.