The Hartnell College cross country staff has released the 2018 cross country schedule with several new additions and some traditionally attended events. This year's team will host a scrimmage meet on Saturday, August 25th at San Lorenzo Park in King City. This is an opportunity for friends and family to see several of this year's team members compete for the first time as a Hartnell College Panther. The course will be spectator friendly with the women competing over 3k distance and men 5k. The first race of the day will start at 8:00am.
The Panthers will raise their competition level up a notch at the Tour de Cuesta at the Fairbanks Cross Country Course on August 31st. One of the few dedicated cross country courses in the state of California, the meet is expecting to have several colleges from Southern California including host Cuesta College and Saddleback College. Slated to compete from Northern California besides the Panthers are the Gladiators from Chabot College who are reinstituting a program for the first time in over a decade.
In 2017, the Panther men continued their string of success at the Fresno Invitational at Woodward Park. The Panthers Have placed in the top three teams at this early season challenge the last three years and will look to do the same in 2018. Many of the top teams will be in attendance for this early season look at the state championship course. Expected to compete is last year's overall state team champion the Mounties of Mt. SAC, the one team the Panthers have yet to beat the last five years in a head to head competition.
After a two week bye, the Panthers will challenge themselves in a larger mixed field of community college and four year university program at the CCAA Preview-CSUSB Invitational in San Bernadino. This meet will take the place of the team's traditional trip south of the Grapevine. The familiar trails and hills of Toro Park await the Lady Panthers on Friday, September 28th. For freshmen men on the squad, this will serve a chance to see how much storonger they have had become since high school while traversing the longer 4 mile course and sophomore men will look to improve on their individual performances from the 2017 Northern California and Coast Conference Championships.
Each year the team looks to spend some extra travel time together in preparation for the championship season. In conjunction with the Norcal Preview Meet at Shasta College on October 5th, the Lady Panthers will head into the hills for a two camping trip to Lassen National Park. Considered the "sister of Yellowstone", this jewel of California will allow the Panthers to explore the trails 5000 feet above sea level.
The Pat Ryan Invitational is moving from Spring Lake to the Santa Rosa JC Farm as a new course is added to the regional championship rotation. This will be the final regular season meet prior to the championship season. This year's Coast Conference Championship will look familiar to the Panthers as it will be hosted over a 4.195 mile layout with the same trails used for high school for Central Coast Section state qualifying course at Crystal Springs. College of San Mateo will host this championship on Friday, October 26. The early season preview of the Northern California Championship course will hopefully be rewarded with a graduation to the top podium spot for the mens team on November 2nd. Last fall, the Panthers recorded one of their lowest team scores in school history in winning a second consecutive team title. The season will culminate with the CCCAA State Championship at Woodward Park in Fresno. This year's squad will look to put their team name in print with a top five team finish for the fourth consecutive year on November 17th.