ARLINGTON, Texas (Sept. 14, 2017) -- The UTA Mavericks will finally get their highly-anticipated cross country competitive seasons in motion Saturday morning when the teams host the annual Gerald Richey UTA Invitational.
"It's exciting to be part of our cross country program right now, and we are always especially eager to have a chance to run in front of our friends and family on our home course," UTA coach John Sauerhage said.
The 2017 meet marks the fifth straight year that the race will be held at Lynn Creek Park (5610 Lake Ridge Parkway) in Grand Prairie. Both the men and women will run 5k races. The women will open the meet at 8 a.m. That race will be immediately followed by the men's competition.
"This is our latest start to a season in several years, but our training has gone very well," Sauerhage said. "Now it's important to get check on the progress we've made, get a feel for racing and air it out a little bit before the Texas A&M Invitational next week."
The men's team has held onto its No. 3 slot in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's South Central Regional rankings. In addition, the Mavericks, the highest rated team in the Sun Belt Conference, are the favorites to win their third consecutive league title.
The women's field for Saturday's meet includes SMU (ranked third in the South Central Region) and Dallas Baptist competing alongside an improved Maverick team. The UTA women are predicted to finish third in the conference standings.
"This will be a chance for our freshmen on both teams to get their feet wet," Sauerhage said. "More than anything, it's really going to be a competition amongst ourselves. Everyone will be vying for a spot on the travel squad next week."
High school boys and girls races will be contested following the college events. The course is the same layout that teams will race at the UIL Regional Championships next month (Oct. 23). Results of the college and high school races will be available at runfarusa.com.
Also, for the second straight year, the Mavericks are hosting the UTA Blazing 5K fundraiser prior to the start of the college races. Entry fee is $25 and the race, which is open to everyone, will begin at 7:30 a.m.
Finally, the registration tent at the meet will serve as a Hurricane Harvey relief station from 7 a.m. until noon. The Mavericks are looking to collect the following items: bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair brushes, combs, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, feminine products, hand sanitizer and new or gently-used shoes.
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For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow the UTA cross country/track & field program @UTA_Track on Twitter.
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