HARROGATE, Tenn. — Headlined by the opportunity to serve as the host of the South Atlantic Conference Championship meets, the 2015 Lincoln Memorial University men’s and women’s cross country schedule is ripe with new experiences at previously unseen courses.
“We became pretty predictable in the meets we ran for the past several years,” LMU head men’s and women’s cross country coach Jeremy Donahue said. “Nobody on either of our teams has had experience on any of these courses, so it will be a nice change overall. There’s going to be a purpose to each meet we’re going to, and we expect each one to give us a little bit more to learn from.”
The Railsplitters and Lady Railsplitters open the season at the Sewanee Invitational in Sewanee, Tennessee on Sept. 5 before traveling to Greenville, South Carolina for the Furman Classic on Sept. 12. While Donahue acknowledged that the season-opening meet should be a competitive race, he noted that the Furman Classic would provide the true litmus test for his teams.
“That race is one that’s become a pretty big early-season meet in the southeast,” Donahue said. “We’ll see some conference and region teams there, as well as some quality Division I opponents. Sewanee will be a good race, but Furman is going to really show us where we’re at early in the season.”
Two weeks later, Lincoln Memorial travels to Wingate, North Carolina for the Bulldog Stampede, which is being run at the site of the 2015 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional. When asked about that particular course, Donahue (‘07) recounted memories of the Wingate Cross Country Facility from his days as a collegiate runner for the Railsplitters.
“It’s a pretty up-and-down course, but it’s a fair course. I know they have changed it up a little bit since I ran it, but it’s still over a lot of the same terrain. It’s not overly difficult, but it’s not pancake flat, either,” said the coach.
LMU concludes the regular season at another Furman-hosted event, the Gene Mullin Invitational, on Oct. 10 before quickly shifting their attention to the South Atlantic Conference Championship meet.
For the first time in program history, Lincoln Memorial will serve as the host institution for that event, welcoming the league’s 12 men’s and women’s cross country squads to Wasioto Winds Golf Course in Pineville on Oct. 24
“We’ve hosted only one other meet and that was a low-key meet,” Donahue said. “This is going to be a bigger undertaking, but it’s something that we are looking forward to. It will be nice to get a big meet like the SAC Championship here to LMU since we haven’t done anything like it before.”
Lincoln Memorial has not hosted a cross country meet since holding the Railsplitter Invitational at Wilderness Road State Park in Ewing, Virginia. in 2010.
The NCAA Division II Southeast Regional is scheduled for Nov. 7 in Wingate, North Carolina, with the top three teams and the top two individuals not affiliated with any of those teams earning bids to the NCAA Cross Country Championships.