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The Georgia men’s cross country team receives a pre-race pep talk from distance coach Patrick Cunniff. UGA hosted its first and only home meet of the season, the Bulldog Invitational, in Athens, Georgia on Aug 31, 2019. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean)

The Georgia men’s and women’s cross country schedules for the 2020 season has been released after a hefty delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulldogs will start with a home opener followed by two more meets before the start of the postseason in late-October, consisting of both in and out of conference competitions.

The Bulldogs’ season will start this Thursday, Sept. 17, in Athens, with the Bulldog Invitational at the UGA Golf Course. They will compete against numerous schools consisting of South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech and UNC-Charlotte.

Following its opener, Georgia will compete in the Florida State Invitational in Tallahassee, Florida, on Oct. 2.

Two weeks following this, the Bulldogs will travel to Birmingham, Alabama, to contend in the Blazer Invitational on Oct.16.

Because the NCAA canceled all of its fall sports championships — excluding football — on Aug. 13, Georgia’s season will be capped off with the SEC championship in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Oct. 30.

Georgia’s coaching staff is excited about this upcoming and unique season. 

“We are eager and optimistic as we announce this schedule,” assistant coach Patrick Cunniff said in the release. “We look forward to great competition and continuing to develop our student-athletes. We will be tested and challenged, but after many months and many miles our runners are ecstatic to have something to aim for.”

Cunniff was also quick to emphasize the importance of these upcoming meets in relation to the season closer.  

“After our home meet, everything builds and points towards the SEC championships in Baton Rouge,” Cunniff said. “[Florida State] and UAB should give us a nice variety of courses and competition and prepare us well. These kids love to run and to race and we can’t wait to get after it in a meet setting.”

With skilled runners filling up the roster this year, Georgia looks to make a statement in cross country. Both the runners and coaches alike are extremely confident heading into the season, and it should be another strong year for this running squad as they prepare to take on the courses after a long absence.

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