Cross-country? A sport? Does the school even have a cross-country team? These are questions readers might be asking as they glance at the sports section.

The answers: all yes.

The Wolverine cross-country team or should we call them, reigning Great West Conference Champions, will start their season this Saturday, Sept. 3, running in the Wyoming Invitational in Laramie, Wyo.

The women’s team, led by senior Mary Nothum, will have eight of last year’s top-10 runners returning this year, giving head coach Scott Houle reason to set the bar even higher than last year’s sixth place finish in the women’s regional.

“We want to be better,” said Houle.  “We want to be more competitive in a region full of great [cross-country] programs.”

Houle also has higher expectations for the men’s team, who finished eighth in last year’s regional, but only have two of last year’s top-10 runners returning.

“There is a handful of men returning this year from missions or from being red shirted,” said Houle. “Josh (McCabe) and Spencer (Evensen) should be able to lead them and be more competitive this year.”

For those who don’t really know about NCAA cross country, these expectations are high in such a competitively tough region with such great programs like BYU and Colorado.

This year’s regional event might be the only time to catch the Wolverines in action this year, due to the team’s previous event being lost by construction.

Due to the building of the new science building, which falls right in the middle of the planned 2010 course, the Wolverines will try to look elsewhere to bring a cross-country event back to Orem.

Keep an eye on these Wolverines this season and expect them to turn some heads.

For those who don’t feel cross-country is sport, the next time you sit down to watch an episode of Pardon the Interruption or Around the Horn on ESPN, realize that in that same amount of time, these athletes will have run about six miles.
Just a little something to think about.