UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - The University of Richmond has announced its men's and women's cross country schedule for the 2012 season. The Spiders' four-meet regular season will lead into October's Atlantic 10 Championship and culminate with potential trips to November's Southeast Regional and NCAA Championships.
"We are already excited and looking forward to the 2012 season," said head men's coach Steve Taylor. "We feel these meets combine the high level of competition our teams need to obtain points towards the NCAA Championships qualifying system and the balance of competitive early season meets. We'll have a good group of upperclassmen along with a talented incoming freshman class."
Richmond's season will get underway when the program plays host to the 11th annual Spider Alumni Open on Sept. 1. The Spiders put forth a good showing at last year's event, with rising senior Stephanie Paradis pacing the field to lead the women to a top finish and the Spider men securing the second spot on the heels of a pair of top-three finishers.
The Spiders take to the road for the remainder of the season. The team's first road test will be a quick trip down I-64 to Williamsburg, Va., for the William and Mary Invitational on Sept. 15. The women won the event a year ago behind rising junior Jill Prentice's top showing, while the men again fielded two top-three finishers in taking runner-up honors.
Richmond wraps up the month of September with a southward swing to the Charlotte Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 28. The 49ers' meet, which has become one of the Southeast's elite invites with nearly 40 programs participating at the event a year ago, represents the Spiders' lone Friday run of the 2012 regular season. It will also offer the team an opportunity to scout out the Southeast Regional Championship course, as the 2012 regional meet will be held there in November.
Two training weeks later, Richmond will venture into unfamiliar territory when the teams visit Fayetteville, Ark., for the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival on Oct. 13. The premier meet featured more than 30 teams as participants this past year, including a pair of men's programs that finished in the top 10 at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Just two years removed from a sweep of the conference titles, Richmond will then head to Philadelphia for the Atlantic 10 Championships on Oct. 27. The youth-laden Spiders finished fourth on the women's side and seventh on the men's side last season.
After three consecutive years in Louisville, Ky., the Southeast Regional Championships will move to Charlotte in 2012. The Nov. 9 meet is where the qualifying Southeast Region programs have the opportunity to advance to the NCAA Championships two weeks later in Louisville.
"We had to look at several things in putting together this year's cross country schedule," added head women's coach and Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Lori Taylor. "First, our NCAA Regional Championships will be held in Charlotte this year. It will be the first time our teams will see the course, so we'll go down in late September to preview it when we run the Charlotte meet. We also felt it very important for our team to travel outside of our region in order to secure points towards the NCAA at-large qualifying system. That then led us to the University of Arkansas' Chile Pepper Festival. It's a great meet with an extremely high level of competition from across the nation."
Stay updated on all the latest Richmond Cross Country news on RichmondSpiders.com and by accessing Spider Athletics' mobile apps on your Smartphone or tablet. More in-depth coverage can be found by following Head Coach Steve Taylor on Twitter and by reading his blog. The Spiders also have their own Facebook page and have launched their own YouTube Video Channel as well.