2013 Women's Cross Country Schedule Announced
Sep 6, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. - The strength of schedule is certainly not in question for the Minutewomen in 2013. Julie LaFreniere's squad will compete alongside many of the country's top teams, including six of last year's top 20 finishers in the NCAA Championship. LaFreniere describes the beginning of the schedule as "baptism by fire" due to the Minutewomen being challenged right off the bat with their first four meets arguably being their most difficult. However the head coach believes her squad is ready for the challenges ahead.
The season begins with the Minuteman Invitational on September 14, where UMass will welcome Vermont, Maine, Boston College, UConn and Amherst College. Boston College finished 19th in the country last season while UConn finished eighth in the country.
In week two, UMass will then travel to the bayside where they will compete in the Boston College Invite. Committed to the meet on September 27 is Providence College, Cornell, Wisconsin and last year's champions, Oregon. Providence was last year's runner up in the National Championship while Cornell finished 13th in the country.
The following week on October 5, the squad will travel to the annual Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa. There the team will compete in one of their toughest meets of the season in years past. LaFreniere's team will then come back to Massachusetts for the New England Championship in Boston, Mass. at Franklin Park on October 12.
When asked about the strength of schedule and difficult four-week stretch, Coach LaFreniere responded "I want the girls to be fearless with no doubts about their ability ... They need to believe in themselves and in each other and race when it's time to race."
She went on to explain why her team should be fearless saying "It's nothing new to us. We're from New England, we compete and should be competing alongside Boston College and Providence every year."
The team will then run in the CCSU Mini Meet in New Britain, Conn. on October 25, just a week prior to the Atlantic 10 Championship in Richmond, Va. on November 2. The championship meet will look a little different this year with the absence of last year's champion Butler, as well as Xavier and Charlotte.
The conference did add cross country and track and field powerhouse George Mason to the mix this year. However with the team returning all of its top runners, entering the season healthy and adding a very talented freshman class, Coach LaFreniere foresees her team running right alongside the best teams in the conference.
On November 15 the Minutewomen will strive to make an impact in the standings at the NCAA Regional Championship in the Bronx, in order to extend their season to the NCAA Championship in Terra Haute, Ind. on November 23.