By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director
When The Master’s University women’s cross country team makes a run at a second straight conference title this fall, it could be in front of a large group of fans swaddled in blue and gold.
TMU released its 2018 schedule today, the highlight coming Nov. 3 when it hosts the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships at Central Park in Saugus.
“Our sport is one that we so rarely do have an opportunity for the community to see us compete. Most of what we do is on the road,” said Mustangs coach Zach Schroeder. “This gives our fan base two opportunities to see us.”
The other opportunity comes Sept. 29 when TMU puts on its annual The Master’s University XC Invitational at Central Park. Schroeder said roughly 18 college teams had already signed on for what’s become the largest combined college and high school meet in Southern California. TMU has partnered with powerhouse Saugus High to facilitate the six-race event.
“I really love investing in the sport of cross country and putting the sport on the map,” Schroeder said. “To be a host, it really means making sure the teams that come have the best experience possible.”
From there, Master’s will break from competition for three weeks to assess each athlete’s progression and to make adjustments as needed. The Mustangs’ roster currently sports seven runners (including Mikala Fairchild and Rachelle Nelson, who finished second and third respectively at GSAC finals in 2017), so staying healthy will be especially crucial. Never more so than in the final three meets of the year.
The Mustangs hope to use the Warrior Invitational in Rocklin, Calif., on Oct. 20 to position themselves for an at-large berth to nationals (if they don’t win at GSAC finals, of course).
Then at conference, the team will look to build on last year’s dominant performance when it posted the lowest score in program history, for girls or boys.
The season, TMU hopes, will culminate Nov. 16 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at the Women’s Cross Country National Championships, where Master’s finished 12th in 2017.
See the full 2018 schedule here.