May 3, 2012
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State has finalized its 2012 cross country schedule, announced by head coach Alick Musukuma Thursday (May 3). The six-meet slate is highlighted by two meets on the Bears' home soil including the Richard Clark Invitational in September and the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on Nov. 10.
In 2011, Missouri State ran in a total of five meets, none of which were in Springfield, Mo. at the MSU Cross Country Course.
For the second year in-a-row, the Bears will travel to Tulsa, Okla. to open the season with the Hurricane Festival (Sept. 1).
"The first meet is always good for us, because by September we want to see what the athletes did over the summer," Musukuma said. "It's only two miles, so it is more like a time trial."
Two weeks later, MSU will host the Richard Clark Invitational, which will serve as a pre-regional meet. Musukuma said that many of the teams competing in the Midwest Regional have expressed interest in attending the Sept. 15 meet to get a feel for the course before the postseason.
Added to the schedule for this year, the Bears will venture to Stillwater, Okla. on Sept. 29 for Oklahoma State's Cowboy Jamboree. The Cowboy Jamboree is one of the top cross country meets in the Midwest and will feature a number of schools that the Bears will see at Regionals.
Missouri State will return to the Chile Pepper Festival at the University of Arkansas on Oct. 13 to gear up for the championship season.
This year, Illinois State will play host to the Missouri Valley Conference Championships on Oct. 27. In their second season under Musukuma, the Bears will look to improve on their fourth-place finish from last year.
For the first time since 2009, Missouri State will serve as the host institution for the 2012 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships (Nov. 10). A year ago, MSU placed 25th out of 28 teams at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships held in Dekalb, Ill.
"It is really great for the city of Springfield," Musukuma commented on hosting the Regionals. "First off, it is great for businesses as we will be bringing in parents and fans from more than 25 teams. Secondly, it helps for recruiting purposes when you can show these high school students that you hosted a big meet like Regionals."
If the Bears qualify for the NCAA National Championships, they will return to E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. where they ran at the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic in 2011. The Championships are scheduled for Nov. 17.