ELON, N.C. – A pair of home meets, the 2016 Colonial Athletic Association Championships and a return to the NCAA Pre-Nationals highlight the 2016 schedule for the Elon University men’s and women’s cross country programs as released by third-year head coach Nick Polk on Wednesday, June 22.
Here is an overall look at the Phoenix’s schedule:
2016 Elon Cross Country Schedule
For the third straight year, Elon will open the season with a pair of home meets beginning with the Elon Opener on Sept. 1, at the programs’ home cross country course. Following that meet, the maroon and gold hosts the eighth annual Elon Invitational on Sept. 10.
“We are excited to again host two home meets to kick off our season,” said Polk. “This is a great opportunity for us to start off the season with two low-key efforts at home. We like to showcase our cross country facility to other teams in the (region) and get a feel for our own team early on.”
Regular Season Meets
Following its home meets, the Phoenix will trek to the University of Virginia for the Panorama Farms Invitational on Sept. 24, then head to the Wake Forest Invitational on Oct. 14. Other members of the maroon and gold will head to Terre Haute, Ind., for the prestigious NCAA Pre-Nationals on Oct. 15.
“In the middle of our season, we will begin racing our full squad against some of the best competition in the country,” added Polk. “We will take our top group to both the regional course at Virginia and the NCAA Championships course at Indiana State so that we can get a feel for both facilities.”
The Phoenix will also have selected athletes of both squads compete at the adidas XC Challenge on Sept. 16, and at the Three Stripe Invitational on Nov. 5. Both meets will take place in Cary, N.C.
Elon will head into the championship season portion of its schedule starting with the 2016 CAA Cross Country Championships on Oct. 29, hosted by the University of Delaware. Last season as a freshman, Nick Ciolkowski captured the men’s individual league championship after clocking a 24:22.3 in the 8K race. The Fairport, N.Y., native became the second consecutive Elon runner to claim CAA medalist honors in the men’s race.
The Phoenix return to Virginia for the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Nov. 11, in Charlottesville, Va. The Elon women harriers earned its highest finish ever at the regional championship with a seventh-place standing a season ago. Kimberly Johansen became only the second Phoenix female runner to earn All-Region accolades after racing a time of 21:38.6 to finish 25th overall.
The 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships will be held in Terre Haute, Ind., hosted by Indiana State, on Nov. 19, for those who qualify.
“Our championship season is the most important part of our year,” said Polk. “We always prepare well for this time of year and really put our focus on competing at our highest level at this point.”