FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sacred Heart head cross country coach Christian Morrison has announced the schedules for the upcoming men's and women's cross country seasons. The slate features six regular season meets leading up to the Northeast Conference Championships in late October.
Both programs will open up the season on Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Stony Brook Season Opener in Stony Brook, N.Y. The following Saturday, Sept. 8, the Pioneers will race at Bryant University's Nassaney Invitational, running on the same course that will host this year's NEC Championship meet. After a week off, the Pioneers will compete on Sept. 22 at the Ted Owen Invitational, hosted by Central Connecticut State at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain.
Two weeks later, SHU will begin a stretch of four meets in as many weekends, beginning on Saturday, Oct. 6th at the New England Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston. SHU will follow with the Rothenberg Run (Oct. 12) and the CCSU Mini Meet (Oct. 19), leading up to the NEC Championships at Bryant on Oct. 27.
This year's Northeast Regional Championship will take place in Amherst, N.Y. on Friday, Oct. 9. Qualified runners will then move on to compete at the ECAC/IC4A Championships or the NCAA National Championships, both on Nov. 17.
Sacred Heart's men have finished runner-up each of the last three years at the NEC Championships and return their highest-placing finisher from last year's meet in junior Gilmar Barrios, who finished third overall and was one of three Pioneers to crack the top 10.
A perennial Northeast Conference power, the SHU women are the reigning conference champions and have won four of the last five conference titles overall, finishing no lower than third since 2008. The Pioneers have lost defending league individual champion Kate Svensen and three other all-conference performers from a season ago to graduation, but welcome back junior Jody DiCicco, who finished fourth overall last year and helped SHU take four of the top five places overall.