LOGAN, Utah -
Veteran Utah State head cross country coach Gregg Gensel announced the eight-race schedule for the 2017 campaign on Friday.
“We’re excited to start the season and have our schedule out,” Gensel said. “It’s a schedule that will create opportunities for our athletes to compete against great competition and also have three home meets. It’s going to be a great year.”
For the 13th consecutive year, the season will begin at home with the Sagebrush Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 2, on the Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course. This is the first of three home meets for the Aggies, who will also host the Steve T. Reeder Memorial Invitational on Friday, Oct. 6, and the NCAA Mountain Regional Championships on Friday, Nov. 10.
“Having three home meets gives a level of comfort to our runners because they get to train on the course,” Gensel said. “By having home meets, they’re familiar with the course and they’ve trained on it. It gives them an opportunity just to focus on the running part of it and sleep in their own beds the night before, which ends up being a positive thing for the athletes.”
Utah State hits the road for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 16, when it heads to Utah County for the BYU-hosted Autumn Classic.
Following a bye week, the Aggies close out the month of September by competing in the Lehigh-hosted Paul Short Run on Friday, Sept. 29, in Bethlehem, Pa.
After hosting the Steve T. Reeder Memorial Invitational, Utah State returns to the road for the Pre-National Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 14, in Louisville, Ky. This meet will serve as the Aggies’ final tune-up for the Mountain West Championships, which are being hosted by New Mexico, on Friday, Oct. 27, at the UNM North Golf Course in Albuquerque, N.M.
The Utah State men exceeded expectations at last year’s MW Championships, placing fourth with 131 points. The women took sixth with 148 points.
“We’re improved on both the men’s side and women’s side,” Gensel said. “With the newcomers and the returners like Dillon (Maggard) and Kashley (Carter), I am excited to see what they can do. If they can stay healthy, we’ve got a chance to do some great things this year.”
NCAA postseason competition begins two weekends later with the Mountain Regional on Nov. 10 in Logan, followed by the NCAA Championships just eight days later in Louisville, Ky.
Both of Utah State’s cross country teams placed eighth in the team standings at the 2016 Mountain Regional, which was also held in Logan. The men tallied 230 points and the women finished with 232 points.
Dillon Maggard, who is entering his senior season at Utah State, led the men by earning all-region honors as he placed in the top 25. The native of Kirkland, Wash., was the top male finisher from the Mountain West, crossing the line eighth in the 10-kilometer race with a time of 31:02.20.
On the women’s side, Kashley Carter also garnered all-region accolades by placing 15th with a time of 20:28.50 in the six-kilometer race. She is entering her junior season at Utah State.
By placing eighth in the men’s race, Maggard qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, where he cruised to the third cross country All-America honor and second men’s All-America honor in school history.
The native of Kirkland, Wash., was the Mountain West’s top finisher, placing 12th with a time of 30:03.9 in the men’s 10-kilometer race, recording the best-ever Aggie finish at nationals in the process.
Maggard and Carter earned first- and second-team all-conference honors, respectively, in 2016, while Luke Beattie was tabbed the MW Men’s Freshman of the Year.
Fans can follow the Utah State track & field and cross country programs at twitter.com/USUTF_XC, on Facebook at USUTrack and on Instagram at instagram.com/USUTF_XC. Aggies fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
2017 UTAH STATE CROSS COUNTRY SCHEDULE
|Sept. 2||Sagebrush Invitational||Logan, Utah|
|Sept. 16||BYU Autumn Classic||Provo, Utah|
|Sept. 28||Paul Short Run||Bethlehem, Pa.|
|Oct. 6||Steve T. Reeder Memorial||Logan, Utah|
|Oct. 14||Pre-Nationals||Louisville, Ky.|
|Oct. 27||Mountain West Championships||Albuquerque, N.M.|
|Nov. 10||NCAA Mountain Regionals||Logan, Utah|
|Nov. 18||NCAA Championships||Louisville, Ky.|
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