The Valparaiso University cross country teams will host the 18th annual Crusader Cross Country Invitational September 8 at Sunset Hills Farms, kicking off a 2006 season that includes seven meets around the Midwest.
In 2005, the Brown and Gold enjoyed great success, especially on the women's side where 2006 sophomore Laura Rolf
(Rochester, Mich./Lutheran Northwest) and senior Danielle Nunnelly
(Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) earned All-Conference honors in leading Valpo to a third-place Mid-Con finish. Both runners return this year, along with junior Rachael Button
(Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington) who finished 17th at the Mid-Con Championships.
On the men's side, the top three finishers at the Mid-Con meet also return, with senior Adriano Schultz
(Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville-Broadview Heights), and sophomores Jim Turchyn
(Batesville, Ill./Batesville) and Jordan Stanfill
(Goshen, Ind./Goshen) back for 2006.
The Crusader Invitational has undergone some changes for this season, most notably that the length of the course has been shortened to a 4K for the women and a 6K for the men. The women's race will be run first, at 5:00 p.m., with the men's race to follow at approximately 5:45 p.m.
After racing at home to start the season, the Crusader cross country teams hit the road for meets at Indiana State, Notre Dame and Loyola (Chicago), host of the prestigious Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational on September 30. Valpo closes out the regular season in Evansville at the Evansville Invitational on October 14.
UMKC will serve as host of this year's Mid-Continent Conference Cross Country Championships on October 28. The women's 6K will begin at 10:00 a.m. with the men's 8K final slated for 11:00 a.m.
On November 11, the Crusaders will compete at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Bowling Green, Ohio. Last season, Rolf finished 17th at the Great Lakes Regional meet, becoming one of only two Crusader women to ever earn All-Regional honors.