The University of Northern Iowa cross country team will open its season on Friday, August 29th at the Bulldog Classic in Des Moines, Iowa. The meet is scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m.
Both the men's and women's teams will compete in a 4,000 meter race. The meet will take place at Ewing Park, the largest park in the Des Moines area.
The Panthers were successful a year ago at the Bulldog Classic. Trai Bunch notched a third-place finish for the UNI men. Alex Wilson and Theresa Connelly finished second and third place respectively for the women.
The UNI cross country program is set to build off of a successful end to the track and field season in 2013. A group of young runners will be counted on with just three seniors on the men’s and women’s teams.
On the men's side Calvin Kibby and Andrew Swanson were lost to graduation. For the women, Emily McCarthy and Hayley Thomas were the two departures via graduation. Despite losing four runners to graduation the Panthers cross country team is poised for a great season in 2014.
Key returning runners for the Panthers men's cross-country team include senior Terry Nielsen and four juniors, Trai Bunch, Ben Fick, Zach Bucheit and Shane Kirchoff.
On the women's side, the return of seniors Amber Clock, Haley Stevens and Alex Wilson sets the stage for a strong season on the women's side. All-American Iowa Central transfer Tara Jackson brings an NJCAA cross-country championship with her to UNI. Jackson, along with juniors Hanna Martin and Callie Matthews should help round out a solid group of women runners.
UNI will compete in five events before they will go to the MVC Championship meet in Carbondale, Ill. on November 1st.
Cross-country recaps and results can be found after the conclusion of the Bulldog Classic on Friday night at www.unipanthers.com. Fans can also follow the Panthers cross country team on Twitter at @UNITrackField and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/unitrackandfield.