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    Likhite, Northwestern Excited for 2014 Schedule

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Megan O'Brien (right) and Jena Pianin (center) again figure to be among NU's top competitors in 2014.
    Megan O'Brien (right) and Jena Pianin (center) again figure to be among NU's top competitors in 2014.

    June 11, 2014

    2014 Northwestern Cross Country Schedule

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern University's student body is just now dispersing for the summer, but the official start of the NU cross country season is only 10 weeks away, as noted by today's release of the Wildcats' 2014 schedule.

    Northwestern will debut with an exciting trip out west to the San Francisco Invitational in Golden Gate Park, the first trip to the West Coast for the Wildcats in recent memory. The annual meet, slated this year for Saturday, Aug. 30, regularly draws top competition from the Pac-12 and West Coast Conferences.

    "Once again this year we've put together a nationally competitive schedule that will test our girls throughout the year and put them in a position to be successful when championship season arrives in November," said head coach April Likhite, now entering her 10th overall season with the Wildcats. "We're extremely excited to be opening the year with a trip to San Francisco before returning to compete in many of the top meets in the Midwest, including chances to become familiar with the host courses of both the Big Ten and NCAA Regional Championships."



    One of those chances comes in NU's second meet of the season (Saturday, Sept. 12), which brings the Wildcats to Bradley University and Peoria, Ill., site of this year's Midwest Regional Championships. The same is true of Northwestern's ensuing competition, the Big Ten Preview event at the University of Iowa, which in November will welcome the rest of the conference to the league championship meet.

    In the month of October, Likhite and the Wildcats will take part in two marquee meets, beginning with the Notre Dame Invite on Friday, Oct. 3. Two weeks later, Northwestern will be back in the Hoosier state for the Pre-Nationals Invite in Terre Haute, which annually serves as the site of the NCAA Championships each November.

    Northwestern's younger runners also will have the opportunity to gain competition experience at meets throughout the season including the UIC Home Opener (Aug. 30), the Lucian Rosa Invite (Oct. 11) and the Illini Open (Oct. 24).

    Likhite is returning five of the seven runners that competed for the Wildcats at last season's NCAA Regional Championships, all five of whom were merely freshmen or sophomores at the time. Then-freshmen Andrea Ostenso and Elena Miller were NU's second and third-best finishers at the meet, and this year will be joined by a collection of six Northwestern newcomers looking to improve the Wildcats' league and regional standings.

    "We have a great core of returners who gained big-meet experience last year," Likhite said, "who we know will do a great job mentoring our incoming freshmen as they look to contribute right away."


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