The first annual Under Armour Maryland Meet of Champions hosted by Mount St. Mary's will be held on November 17, 2018 to crown team and individual champions who can call themselves "the best cross country runners in Maryland."
The meet will feature boys and girls 5k championship races with 20+ teams and top individuals being invited to run. While the exact qualifying standards will not be out until August, top teams and individuals from the MPSAA 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A, as well as IAAM/MAAC will receive automatic qualifying bids will the field being rounded out with several at large teams and at large individuals.
Race director Chris Graff indicated that "at least" 20 teams and 40 individuals would be invited. "We want to be as inclusive as we can, the coaches and athletic department at the Mount have been terrific partners and we are hoping to fill their course with every one of the state's top teams and runners," says Graff. "Two years ago we had three young women qualify for the national championship out of a regional meet in New York, and that regional was the first time they all raced each other. Three of the top 40 runners in America and we couldn't get them on a start line anywhere in our state, they deserved an opportunity to face each other and with Under Armour's and Mount St. Mary's help we can give it to them."
As the race falls outside of the MPSAA season teams cannot wear their normal racing kits, so all runners will receive a top to race in of a specific color that indicates the division they are representing courtesy of Under Armour. The rules and formatting will be similar to other post season meets such as Foot Locker Championships and the NXR/NXN meets later in November and a late morning start time will be used to accommodate those coming from the Eastern Shore or Western Maryland. The final field sizes and entry guidelines are expected to be published prior to labor day so that teams can plan accordingly.
In addition to support from the local high school coaches, college coaches are looking forward to a better recruiting tool for Maryland's top distance runners. One Division 1 coach said, "It's so hard to compare a runaway champion with a slower time to a faster third placer in a deeper division. You aren't sure who to recruit, so setting up a meet like this, similar to what many other states do, is a great tool to help evaluate which runners are the right fit for a particular college program."Mark your calendars, November 17th 2018 will be the inaugural Under Armour Maryland Meet of Champions hosted by Mount St. Mary's. One race, one winner, and one MMoC champion