February 19, 2009
USI awarded 2009 NCAA II Cross Country Championships,
Eagles will host national event for second time in five years
EVANSVILLE, Ind.—For the second time in five years, the University of Southern Indiana will be the host sight for the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships.
The NCAA recently announced that USI will host the 2009 NCAA II National Championships, an event that brings in 48 teams and more than 400 student-athletes and coaches each year. The event is scheduled for November 21.
"I think it's great for the department and the University," USI Director of Athletics Jon Mark Hall said. "We have a wonderful campus and wonderful people that work here. Events like this show the NCAA staff and other member institutions of Division II what we are all about."
USI hosted the 2004 NCAA II Cross Country Championships and USI Head Coach Mike Hillyard is excited to have the chance to do it again. "We're really excited to have another opportunity to host," Hillyard said. "We had a lot of positive feedback from other coaches and athletes when we hosted in 2004 and felt like it was a tremendous success.
"I think it is always good anytime you can have a major event on your campus," Hillyard continued. "It certainly puts the University, the administration, yourself, and your kids in the spotlight. It's great for the community and it's great for our student-athletes to have that opportunity."
Hosting the NCAA II National Championships also can have a positive economic impact for the Evansville area. "I think the plus about hosting the championship is that it brings a tremendous amount of people to the Evansville community," Hall said. "There are a lot of hotel rooms being booked, a lot of meals being eaten in Evansville. Realistically, if we pull the event off the right way and get the support of the community, it can really help both the Evansville community and the USI athletic program."
Having hosted the event in 2004, Hall feels like USI will do an even better job in 2009. "I think we did a good job in 2004, but I think we'll do a better job this time," Hall explained. "Times have changed and the event has probably changed a little bit. We have a great venue for it and I don't want to say it will be easier this time around, but I think anytime you have experience at something, you'll do a better job."
In 2004, USI had a great volunteer turnout to help run the race and various other events that were associated with the meet. Hall is encouraging people to volunteer this year as well. "We will need a lot of volunteers," Hall said. "I think that anyone who was here in 2004 would remember how many people it took to work on the course and work on the different kinds of auxiliary events for the championship.
"It's a large effort," Hall explained. "It's a one-day event, but there are months and months of planning that go into it."
With strong squads coming back in 2009, USI also is looking forward to competing at the national meet. "It's a rare opportunity for your student-athletes to have a chance to run a national championship on their home course," Hillyard said. "With a couple of pretty good teams returning next year, we are definitely excited about the possibility of that happening."
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