Northern Illinois University and the Huskie cross country team will welcome in some of the best cross country teams in the nation Saturday, Nov. 12, when they host the 2011 NCAA Midwest Regional on the NIU North 40.
The meet – which is one of nine regionals nationwide – will serve as the qualifying round for the Monday, Nov. 21, NCAA National Championship in Terre Haute, Ind.
“It’s really a great honor to be able to host the Midwest Regional here on our campus,” said NIU head coach Greg Hipp. “We have an outstanding facility and it is a confirmation of that for the NCAA to bring this event to DeKalb.”
The regional features one of the deepest fields in the nation. Among the top programs in the field are two-time defending men’s national champion Oklahoma State, Minnesota, Iowa State and Oklahoma.
The field also features two conference champions (Oklahoma State – Big 12, Tulsa – Conference USA) in the men’s race and four (Iowa State – Big 12, Illinois State – Missouri Valley, Eastern Illinois – Ohio Valley, North Dakota State – Summit League) for the women. Other regional teams include Southern Illinois, UIC and Loyola.
For NIU, though, they will be looking to improve from their 11th place finish at last month’s Mid-American Conference championship.
“As a team, we talked about the things that we did well in our preparation for (the MAC championship) and things we needed to improve on,” Hipp said. “Certainly, we are a fitter team than we showed at the MAC Championship. We’ve changed our approach in the week going into this event and hopefully we can run much closer to our potential this time around.”
The meet will be run on the recently reconfigured NIU North 40, which is located in the northeast corner of the NIU campus. The course features gradual uphill and downhill climbs along rolling hills to offer the teams a challenge.
Admission is free to the event, and parking will be available near Anderson and Barsema halls.