The Toledo men's and No. 18 women's cross country teams will host the Inter-Regional Bubble Buster on Friday, Sept. 21 at Ottawa Park. The four-mile men's race will begin at 5:10 p.m. with the 4,000-meter women's race slated for 6:10 p.m.
UT will host the meet for the second-consecutive year, adding the men's race to the "women-only" event from a year ago where the Rockets finished fifth.
An impressive field of talent will fill up the starting line as eight teams appeared in this week's national coaches' poll voted by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for NCAA Division I.
"I'm really excited about how this meet is evolving into one of the top meets in the nation," Head Coach Kevin Hadsell said. "There will be exciting racing with such a high-caliber field."
Headlining the women's side is Toledo, No. 22 Syracuse, No. 23 San Francisco and No. 25 West Virginia. BYU, Portland and Iowa also received votes in the national poll and will run in the event. Other teams competing are Butler, Columbia, Eastern Michigan, Lipscomb, UNC Charlotte, Navy and Ohio.
"Our women are still putting in a high volume of training," Hadsell said. "But, I know we are excited to be in a position to challenge the other teams for first place."
The men's race will feature six schools, including No. 13 Syracuse. Mid-American Conference foes Eastern Michigan, Ohio and Toledo will join UNC Charlotte and San Francisco in the early race.
Both Toledo squads return to action after dominating the Mel Brodt Collegiate Opener at Bowling Green two weeks ago. The women took first place with 19 points as sophomore Mackenzie Chojnacky earned MAC Runner of the Week with her first-place finish. More impressively, the Rockets placed five of the top-six finishers, despite holding out four of their top runners. Those four runners, All-MAC performers Megan Vogelsong, Kaylin Belair, Megan Wright and Devyn Ramsay, will make their 2012 debuts Friday night.
The men's team completed a clean sweep of the competition at Bowling Green with 15 points. Sophomore Jake Kasperski led the surge of Rockets across the line with a time of 15:58.60. UT claimed 10 of the top-12 spots, with the exception of Bowling Green's freshman Tim Jurick finishing ninth and an unattached runner taking fifth place.
Interviews and highlights of the event will be posted on www.tracksuperfan.com. Follow UT cross country (@UTXCTRACK), Head Coach Kevin Hadsell (@RocketCoach70) and Media Contact Derrick Blyberg (UT_DerrickB) on Twitter for the latest updates.