Did you all feel that tinge of fall in the air last weekend—sunny days, cool nights, crunching underfoot? Ignore the fact that the crunching was probably from drought-starved grass, not leaves, and ignore also the return this week of summer-like humidity, and you might believe fall is right around the corner. And you know what that means: CROSS COUNTRY!

The USATF-NE Cross Country Grand Prix kicks off this weekend on Sunday, Sept. 11 with the GBTC  XC Invitational in Wellesley. This is a great course that mixes grass and trails, and they give out pies to the winners. Details about the race and a link to registration can be found here. http://www.gbtc.org/events/xcfestival/

The 2nd race in the series follows the next weekend, on Sunday, Sept 18th, at the WMDP XC Invitational hosted by the women of the WMDP on the Smith College cross country course (mostly trails). Inspired by the pies of GBTC, they are offering cider doughnuts to the winning teams. Info and registration for that race are here https://www.runreg.com/wmdpxc

Rules for the 2016 series remain the same as for the 2015 series, with the exception of women’s scoring at the New England Championship meet, which has been returned for this year to the previous model (see the rules page http://www.usatfne.org/cross for details. The most important rule to highlight is probably the fact that all teams must score in at least 4 of the 5 series races to compete for the overall series win in their age division. And since all 5 races are counted, teams who score in all 5 have the obvious advantage. (Plus they are likely to accrue pie, doughnuts, and glory along the way.)

Last year on the men’s side, GBTC took the open series title and settled for the bronze in 40+. GLRR claimed both the 40+ and 50+ titles over HFC, with the latter title decided by only 2 points after HFC pulled a bit of an upset at the Mayor’s Cup.  In the women’s competition, WMDP scored the open victory with SISU 2nd after the GBTC women failed to score in a 4th event. WMDP went back and forth with GDTC at the 40+ level for most of the season, with WMDP coming out on top by 3 points at the end. Meanwhile, since most of the GDTC team was 50+, they took that division running away (so to speak). Team competition in the series of recent years has been in many cases close between the top teams, but in many cases also relatively sparse in terms of the number of teams competing. The XC committee would like to take this opportunity to remind all our teams that there is actual money up for grabs here—see the rules page for amounts, and start rallying your teams now. See you on Sunday!