Here it is, everything you ever wanted to know about the 2012 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships (but were afraid to ask).
All your questions answered!
When is it?
This Saturday (November 17). The women’s race is at noon (Eastern time), the men’s race is at 1:15pm. The races will be at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky.
How can I watch?
There are two ways. One is to get your butt down to Louisville. The other is to watch the live and free webcast at NCAA.com.
How do I get there? How much does it cost
If you’re going, the host website has your info on directions, parking, tickets ($10 a head), and so forth.
Will it be on TV?
Unfortunately, no. Your only chances to see it are in person or on the web.
Will there be a pre-race show?
You betcha! It will go live at 11:00am (Eastern time) at Flotrack.org and yours truly will make an appearance.
For both the men’s and women’s races, thirty-one teams plus another forty individuals. You can see the complete lists here. They qualified from nine different regional championships held last Friday, with a mix of automatic qualifiers and at-large bids.
Who are the favorites?
The latest coaches’ polls were released yesterday. The top five men’s teams are Oklahoma State, Iona, Stanford, Wisconsin and Texas. The top five women’s teams are Florida State, Oregon, Iowa State, Stanford and Arizona.
The strong favorite among the men’s individuals is the defending champion, Lawi Lalang from Arizona, who has never lost a college cross country race. Possibly giving him a challenge is Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech, a junior transfer from Wayland Baptist where he won two straight NAIA championships, and who is also undefeated this year. Other top men’s runners include Lalang’s teammate Stephen Sambu, Mo Ahmed of Wisconsin, Henry Lelei of Texas A&M, and Paul Chelimo of UNC-Greensboro.
The favorites among the women’s individuals are much less clear-cut. The list of challengers for the title is headed by Jordan Hasay of Oregon, Betsy Saina of Iowa State, Laura Hollander of Cal Poly, Aliphine Tuliamuk of Wichita State, and Risper Kimaiyo of UTEP.
How far do they race?
The men go 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and the women go 6 kilometers (3.7 miles). The difference in distance is a vestige of the era when men thought if women ran too far their uteruses would fall out, or become communist sympathizers, or some other idiocy like that.
What’s the course like?
There are course maps, or check out this Flotrack course preview video. The big deal is that the course narrows significantly fairly early on, which means that many runners will go out like gangbusters to avoid getting caught in a bottleneck.
How will we know who’s winning?
There are two ways. One is to look for a lot of similar uniforms near the front of the race, and fortunately two favorites wear ugly but easily recognized jerseys: the Oklahoma State men and Oregon women. The other is just to watch the webcast (or the big screen if you’re at the meet) because there will be live team scoring updates at multiple times during the races. Also, Flotrack will have live updates, and DeltaTiming.com will have live results.
What’s with the mustache thing?
The “Stachies at Nachies” contest is run by Flotrack.org and is tied to the larger Movember movement and is all in fun. Don’t be surprised if someone breaks out into The Village People’s “Macho Man”.
What’s this “Foot Locker curse” people are talking about?
No women’s winner of the annual Foot Locker-sponsored national high school cross country championship has ever gone on to win an NCAA championship, a streak that is now 31 years old. There’s a good chance that it will be broken this year, as Jordan Hasay is a former champion. In fact, all of the last seven girls’ Foot Locker champions will be running on Saturday.
Where can I go for more information?
The best sources are Flotrack.org, Runnerspace.com, and NCAA.com. Flotrack will have massive amounts of interviews and previews and Runnerspace aggregates info from every corner of the web.
Is it fun to go to this thing?
It is a rockin’ good time with a great party atmosphere. People tailgate. They’ll let you go and run the course before the meet. It’s social, it’s loud, and it’s crazy. You must go sometime.