BOZEMAN – A rite of passage returns to Bozeman on Saturday as Montana State hosts the 44th edition of its cross country meet at Bridger Creek Golf Course.
The meet, recently named the MSU Cross Country Classic, begins with the men's race at approximately 9 a.m. and is followed by the women's race at 9:45 a.m.
"The team always looks forward to competing at their home invitational," said Lyle Weese, MSU's cross country coach. "It's a great course out there at Bridger Creek. We have some high-quality teams coming into Bozeman, so we're excited and can't wait for the meet this Saturday."
The MSU Cross Country Classic will feature a variety of NCAA Division I competition.
The women's 5K race looks to be a competitive race on paper with five Division I teams, along with Providence in Great Falls, in the fold. Weber State paces the teams with the No. 7 rank in the Mountain Region. The Wildcats are followed by Utah State (No. 9), Montana State (No. 14) and Montana (No. 15), while Idaho State also runs Saturday.
The men's 8K competition is highlighted by Utah State, which is ranked 17th in the nation by the USTFCCCA. The Aggies also rank fourth in the Mountain Region, followed by Montana State (No. 11) and Montana (No. 14).
"It's great to have some other Big Sky teams at our meet and it's especially nice to have Utah State coming too," Weese said. "Their men finished 11th at the NCAA Championships last year. To have a team that competes well at the national level here is exciting and it will be great for us to go up against them.
"Utah State's women's team is also really solid and obviously Weber State's women are really good too."
The Bobcats are scheduled to compete in six meets before the NCAA Championships on Nov. 20.
MSU, which already held the Bobcat Time Trials, heads to the Montana Invite on Sept. 24. The Cats then travel to Tallahassee for the Florida State/Pre-National Invitational.
The Big Sky Championships take place in the Portland area Oct. 29 and the NCAA Mountain Region Championships are set for Nov. 12 in Provo, Utah. The Cats have a three-year streak of participants: Duncan Hamilton in 2020, Camila Noe 2019, Ty Mogan 2018.