WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW men’s and women’s cross country teams will be joined by 11 other schools late Friday (Sept. 6) for the 24th Annual Seahawk Invitational on the campus recreation fields.

        The Seahawks, making their second appearance of the new season after running last week in Boone, N.C, have won the men’s race seven times and the women’s title on six occasions since its debut in 1986. The men open the competition at 6 p.m., followed by the women at 6:30 p.m., with both teams covering a flat 5k course.

        “We’re having a good week of training, but we’re still eyeing the races that are two months away,” said Layne Schwier, UNCW’s assistant cross country/track and field coach. “I always say you can either train hard or race hard. Right now, we’re choosing to train hard and race to work on tactics and mental toughness.

        “We didn’t set any end-of-the-year goals this year. Instead, we’re focusing on the process. If we cannot stay focused on the process, we probably won’t reach our goals in the end anyway. So the process is our goal.”

        In addition to UNCW, the field includes Barton, Campbell, East Carolina, Guilford, Meredith, Methodist, Peace, UNC Pembroke, Pfeiffer, Shaw and St. Andrews. Schwier said, “I expect ECU to provide the toughest competition, but Campbell should also be strong. Guilford has several strong men as well.”

        The race will also feature the return of former UNCW head coach Bill Cason, who begins his second year as head of the St. Andrews program.

        ECU swept last year’s competition, including the individual titles by Stacey Gonzales (18:17) and Antonio Palmer (15:42).

        The college competition will be followed by a series of high school races early Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m.