MORAGA, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's men's and women's cross country programs announced a 9-race schedule for this fall that should provide plenty of challenge and opportunity for continued progress.
The Gaels open the season with a pair of races at picturesque Golden Gate Park in San Francisco before traveling to Portland, Ore. for a West Coast Conference preview at Fernhill Park, the site of this year's conference championships. The pre-league season concludes with races at Sonoma State, Stanford and Santa Clara in a 4-week stretch.
"We have made some big changes to our schedule this year," said Kinsey. "As our team continues to improve and grow in numbers, we have accommodated by adding three overnight travel races and by adding separate meets for our 'B' squads."
This season marks the beginning of a rotating schedule for the WCC Championship meet. For more than 30 years the league's championship had been held at historic Crystal Springs Cross Country Course in Belmont, Calif.
"NCAA Cross Country is shifting towards flat courses with big 2k-style loops," said Kinsey. "Crystal Springs is arguably the toughest conference course in the country. So, the change is a welcome one by a majority of the coaches in our conference. Each year the race will switch locations to a rotating host institution. The 2012 championships will be hosted by the University of Portland."
Kinsey also decided to add the WCC Preview early in the season. That race is scheduled to take place at the same course in Portland as the league championships, which will allow the varsity squads and opportunity to race the course prior to the championships.
"It's a lot easier to visualize and prepare for a race when you know the course," said Kinsey. So, going to Portland's WCC preview meet was important for us and our strategy heading into conference."