Visit to Notre Dame Highlights 2003 UW Cross Country Schedule

Aug. 7, 2003

SEATTLE - A pair of home meets and a regular-season visit to Notre Dame highlight the 2003 Washington cross-country schedule, released Friday. Washington boasts five returning starters on the men's side, and will bring back four of the seven women who led the squad to a sixth-consecutive NCAA Championships appearance in 2002.

Following the season-opening Emerald City meet on Sept. 6, at which Washington's team's have swept every team title since 1999, the Huskies will head to Portland for the Pier Park Invitational on Sept. 12, before returning home for the annual Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.

Always the highlight of the home schedule, this year's Sundodger should prove no exception, with highly-rated teams from Oregon, Iowa and Portland scheduled to compete.

'I'm excited about our 2003 schedule,' said head coach Greg Metcalf, a former UW All-American who enters his second year at the helm of the Husky program, but his seventh overall with UW. 'The early-season meets will give us a chance to run some of our younger folks, which will help us decide who's going to run for us at the big meets in October and November.'

The Notre Dame Invitational, on Oct. 3, will provide the Huskies a chance to measure themselves against the nation's best, with several top collegiate squads planning to toe the line in South Bend. Nearly all of those teams will follow the Huskies on Oct. 18 to the annual Pre-National Meet, to be contested on the same course in Waterloo, Iowa, that will host the NCAA Championships in November.

'At Notre Dame, we'll get a good idea for where we are versus the other top teams,' Metcalf said. 'That experience will then help us in Waterloo, as we familiarize ourselves with the course and begin to prepare for the postseason.'

Both Husky squads will be seeking to improve their standings at the Pac-10 Championships in Pullman, Wash., on Nov. 1. Last year's meet, in Los Angeles, saw the Husky women earn third and the UW men fourth.

The NCAA Regional Championships in Portland on Nov. 15 will go a long way towards determining the team's postseason fate, as only the top two men's and women's teams from each regional competition will earn automatic invitations to the NCAA meet. Washington's women took fourth at last year's meet in Palo Alto, Calif., but earned one of 13 at-large NCAA Championships berths. The Husky men placed sixth.

'Our men can definitely improve their regional standing from last year,' Metcalf said. 'This team is loaded with senior talent. As for the women, you don't put together a streak of six-straight NCAA Championships appearances without having folks step up for you in the big meets. Though we lost some talented ladies last year, I have no doubt that we have on our team right now everything we need to make another NCAA run.'

Should they qualify, the Huskies would then return to Waterloo for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 24. With three weeks remaining before the team's first official practice, Metcalf is eager to see his team in action.

'I still get just as pumped up for the season as I did when I was an athlete here 10 years ago,' said Metcalf. 'This, for me, is the most exciting time of the year. We have so many outstanding athletes returning, and a top-notch class of newcomers; it seems that anything is possible for these guys. I simply can't wait to get everyone here in September and get to work.'

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