After a successful track and field season this past spring, the Badgers will look forward to a competitive schedule in 2017’s cross country season. Wisconsin’s athletic department released the meet schedule June 29, enabling the Badgers to better plan on how to build on their performance, where the men finished eighth and the women 14th at NCAAs.
The Badgers will open their season with the Indiana Open in Bloomington, Indiana, on September 2, which will give Wisconsin a tough opponent as the women will run 5K and the men 8K. The course will be used for the 2017 Big Ten Championship, and the race will provide valuable knowledge later on in the season. Wisconsin will be heading to Bloomington, Illinois, the next week to contest the ISU Country Financial Invitational, which will likely draw a more competitive field. Since Illinois State will host the 2017 NCAA Great Lakes Regional, racing that course will also give the Badgers an advantage in the postseason.
A homecoming will be next in store for the Badgers, as they will host the Wisconsin Mayflower Day Open on September 16 at the Zimmer Championship Course in Madison which will be the 2018 NCAA Championship course. The Badgers will then head for Louisville, Kentucky, on September 30, as the Greater Louisville Classic meet will draw a number of strong teams looking to get a preview of the 2017 NCAA National Championship course.
The Badgers will finish their invitational season on their home turf at the Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational on October 13, routinely the most competitive invitational meet in collegiate cross country. The premier event of the Badgers’ schedule, Nuttycombe will have 19 of the 31 men’s teams that qualified for Nationals last year, and 18 of the women’s teams.
The cross country postseason will begin with the Big Ten Championships on October 29, as the Badgers will look to defend their team title and senior Morgan McDonald his individual title, while the women will look to improve on their sixth place finish from last year.
The Badgers will return to Illinois State for the Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 10 to determine if they will qualify for the NCAA Championship meet in Louisville on November 18. The top two teams will automatically qualify from each regional, with the final 13 spots available through at-large bids. Wisconsin’s roster is looking strong on the men’s side, and they should reach Louisville with little trouble. The women will struggle to replace a number of runners lost to graduation, but their surprising result from last year means one can’t count them out.