By: Nicholls State University Athletics

THIBODAUX, La. -- The Nicholls State University cross country program finalized its 2019 schedule Monday afternoon, securing seven total competitions for both the men's and women's squads with just under two months until spikes meet the turf. The Colonels kick off the season at Southland Conference opponent New Orleans on Friday, Aug. 30 in the UNO Opener and close out the year with back-to-back meets in Arkansas -- the SLC Championships on Friday, Nov. 1, hosted by Central Arkansas, and the NCAA South Central Regional, set for Friday, Nov. 15 in Fayetteville, Ark.

Third-year head coach Stefanie Slekis denoted some crucial shifts between the schedule's first few meets and later competitions, opting to build team chemistry early before beginning preparation for the tougher terrain the Colonels will encounter at both the SLC Championships and the NCAA South Central Regional.

"We have some exciting changes to our schedule this year with four local meets to start our season that give us a great opportunity to build our team racing chemistry against strong local competition before traveling to see some regionally ranked competition outside the state at the UAB Blazer Classic," Slekis said. "These local meets in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Thibodaux give us the opportunity to have parents, alumni, and supporters attend to cheer on our teams before we head out of state for the second half of our season."

After starting off the season with a pair of regional competitions -- the UNO Opener and the SU Jaguars XC Invitational -- the Colonels will return home to host a meet of their own: the 2nd Annual Nicholls XC Invitational. For additional information on the event, check out the official release HERE.

"A big update to this year's schedule is the later date of our home meet on Saturday, September 21st," Slekis continued. "We're excited about a date deeper into the season since we are really working to grow the level of competition in the High School division of the meet, the Dr. Richard Morvant Invitational. We will also host UNO for the second year in a row and welcome the SU Jaguars for the first time at our new cross country course, the Nicholls Farm. We are still adding other teams to both the high school and collegiate fields as other programs finalize their 2019 schedules."

For more details, check out the complete 2019 men's cross country schedule HERE and the women's schedule HERE.