Louisville, KY The Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) will host 118 colleges and universities from 23 states and Canada in the 14th Annual Greater Louisville Classic (GLC), which likely will be the second largest college meet contested in the United States in 2015.
The Classic, contested on Saturday October 3, will bring together some of the top college cross country programs in the nation, as over 2,700 athletes are expected to compete at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. The event will not only feature significant quantity, but the overall quality of the competing teams and individual student-athletes will once again be very strong this year. The field will be comprised of 28 men's teams and 30 women's teams that are currently ranked in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Div- I Regional & National, NCAA Div. II National and NCAA Div. III National Cross Country Polls this season. In fact, this year's GLC features cross country programs that have won EIGHT NCAA D-I NATIONAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS. The most recent being the University of Wisconsin men's program back in 2011.
The men's race showcases perennial national power University of Wisconsin, currently ranked #4 in the USTFCCCA NCAA D-I National Coaches Poll, and they will go off as the favorite to take home the team title as defending GLC team champions. Wisco will be challenged by three of the best teams in the US University of Michigan, currently ranked #10 in the NCAA D-I National Coaches Poll, Iona College, currently ranked #8 in the NCAA D-I National Coaches Poll and University of Mississippi, currently ranked #13 in the NCAA D-I National Coaches Poll. This year's race sets up to be one of the best regular season match ups of top NCAA programs in the country.
Individually, the men's race shapes up as a clash of some of best college runners in the country. The lead pack should include Wisconsin's Malachy Schrobilgen (5,000m PR of 13:51.56 & 2014 XC Championships 10th ), Michigan's Mason Ferlic (5,000m PR of 13:46.89 & 2014 XC Championships 13th ), and University of Louisville's duo of Edwin Kibichiy (3,000m Steeple PR 8:44.97) and Ernest Kibet (10,000m PR of 28:55.55), both coming off very strong performances two weeks ago at Vanderbilt and Southern Indiana's Johnnie Guy (10,000m PR of 28:47.86 2014 D-II XC national top 5 performer).
The women's race showcases six nationally ranked teams- Iowa State University, currently ranked #6 in the USTFCCCA NCAA D-I National Coaches Poll, University of Michigan, currently ranked #8 in the NCAA D-I National Coaches Poll, University of Wisconsin, currently ranked #11 in the USTFCCCA NCAA D-I National Coaches Poll, West Virginia University, ranked #13 in the D-I national poll, Penn State University, ranked #19 in the D-I national poll and University of Minnesota, ranked #23 in the D-I national poll. This should be an outstanding race with anyone of these teams taking home the top honors.
The women's individual race should be an evenly matched affair between some of the top collegiate runners in the United States. Expected to contend for top-five placing Saturday should be Michigan's Erin Finn (5,000m PR 15:26.08), Iowa State's Katy Moen (5,000m PR 15:52.72 & 2014 XC national 8th place finisher), Penn State teammates Tori Gerlach (5,000m PR 15:58.79) and Elizabeth Chikotas (5,000m PR 16:05.46), Hillsdale's (MI) Emily Oren (5,000m PR 16:17.40 & 2015 D-II 5,000m national champion) and Grand Valley State's (MI) Kendra Foley (5,000m PR 16:36.42 & 2014 D-II XC national champion).
Again this year, there will be very competitive high school and middle school races contested after the college event is completed. It is expected that over 2,000 young athletes from Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Ohio high schools will be competing Saturday afternoon with the first race at 1:30 pm.