Lady Bulldogs Look to Defend Cross Country Title

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State University's cross country squads return to action on Monday, Oct. 11 at the Auburn Invitational. The women's race is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. CT with the men following at 10:30 a.m. CT. Both races will be held at the Indian Pines Golf Course in Auburn, Ala.

Following a 24th place showing at the Notre Dame Invitational, men's head coach Steve Dudley wants his squad to turn their focus to Monday's meet. For Dudley, he hopes his team can turn things around.

"The Auburn Invitational gives us a chance to prove that the Notre Dame performance is not indicative of the level our cross country team has risen over the last year," he said.

The Bulldogs will depend on several of its younger runners to step up with the SEC Championship just a few weeks away. At Notre Dame, freshman Will McGee finished 19th in the junior varsity race with a time of 26:22. State's top finisher in the varsity race was sophomore Travis McKay (117th).

"With two meets under our belts, the freshmen should now have the experience and confidence to finish better," Dudley said.

On the women's side, head coach Al Schmidt and his Lady Bulldogs seek to defend their title won just a year ago. State beat out 31 other teams to win the meet.

"We are the defending champions and that's what motivates us," Schmidt said. "We will also being looking at our battle with Auburn, Alabama, and LSU."

In only the second meet of the season, junior Jennifer McPherson and senior Meggan Hodge finished in the top 40 amongst some of the nation's best runners at the Notre Dame Invitational.

McPherson posted a time of 17:38, just two second better than Hodge (17:40). They finished 35th and 37th, respectively.

Following Monday's meet, MSU will host its Short Course Invite on Oct. 22. The SEC Championships are set for Oct. 30 in Fayetteville, Ark.

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