MILWAUKEE, Wis. (naccsports.org) -- Aurora University will host the 2018 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) Cross Country Championships this Saturday at Oakhurst Forest Preserve in Aurora, Illinois.
The 6,000-meter women's championship race will begin at 11 a.m., followed by the 8,000-meter men's championship event at noon and the awards ceremony at 1 p.m.
This will be the second time the NACC Championships will be held at Oakhurst Forest Preserve. The first was 2014 when both current NACC championship records were posted. Aurora's Emily Paull set the women's mark at 21:58.2, while Wisconsin Lutheran's Chase Robles had a 25:22.8 clocking.
For more information on the 2018 NACC Cross Country Championships, including the course map and box assignments, click here for the official championship home page.
Women's Race: Concordia Wisconsin will look to defend its 2017 crown but could face an uphill battle as four of the Falcons' top five runners from last year have graduated. Overall, just six of the 15 All-NACC runners from last year are back. Included in that sextet, though, are the two previous NACC champions. In 2016, Aurora's Jackie Schane beat Benedictine's Emma Roberts to the line. Roberts returned the favor last year, relegating Schane to a runner-up finish. Between them, the duo has swept the league's Women's Cross Country Student-Athlete of the Week honors this fall. Roberts has won five times, Schane twice.
Roberts has four runner-up finishes this season and was the top NACC finisher at the pre-national meet hosted by UW-Oshkosh two weeks ago, placing 24th. Schane (35th) and Aurora teammate Jazzmine Reyes - last year's NACC fourth-place finisher - also finished in the top half of the 350-runner field.
Men's Race: There will be plenty of familiar faces in the men's race as host Aurora attempts to capture a fourth straight NACC title as only three all-league runners from a year ago were lost to graduation. There will be a new face at the top of the podium, however, as 2017 champion Jacob Jodat of Wisconsin Lutheran was one of the three graduates. Runner-up David Galvan of Aurora and third-place finisher Craig Reese of Concordia Wisconsin return as do last year's finishers from sixth down to 15th.
Reese has one NACC Runner of the Week honor to his credit this season stemming from his 40th-place finish at the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invitiational on September 29. Two other 2017 All-NACC runners - Benedictine's Michael Skora (twice) and Aurora's Brandon Estrada - have been named NACC Runner of the Week this fall. Skora was 13th at last year's championship, just behind Estrada in 12th. Joe Chavez, who was fifth at the NACC Championships in 2016, also captured one of this fall's weekly honors. Concordia Wisconsin freshman Wesley Schiek and Wisconsin Lutheran sophomore Chris Krahn captured the two remaining honors. Krahn just missed All-NACC honors last season after finishing in 16th place.
Awards: The awards ceremony will occur at approximately 1:00 p.m. near the Preserve's main pavilion. Fans are directed to park at Saint Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church, located directly across the street (1855 5th Avenue) from the main entrance of Oakhurst Forest Preserve. Exceptions for parking on the Oakhurst grounds will be made for those needing handicapped parking. The weather forecast is calling for a slight chance of rain, negligible wind and good running temperatures around 50 degrees at race time.
NCAA Schedule: The NCAA Division III Midwest Regional will take place on Saturday, November 10 at the Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax, Wisconsin, followed by the NCAA Division III National Championships on Saturday, November 17 at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winnecone, Wisconsin.