The inaugural UWG Invitational will bring teams in from Division I, II and III, giving a strong field for the men’s 8K and women’s 5K races.
“All those teams are pretty strong. You’ve got Georgia State and Kennesaw State, so some D-I schools. It’s going to be competitive, but our teams will be right there. Our girls team will definitely be in the mix and our guys team, our No. 1 is sitting out with a broken hand, but I’m looking for them to perform and do well,” UWG coach Tim Brooks said.
Both squads are dealing with injuries heading into the third meet of the season. The men’s side has been hit harder by injuries, forcing Brooks to look at the team more based on individual times than team score.
“Our men’s team, they’re getting there. We’ve got a lot of veterans and a lot of newcomers, but we’ve got a lot of injuries right now. We’re not as good as we should be, but we’re getting there,” Brooks said.
The women’s team is dealing with the injuries better, in part thanks to some strong newcomers. Freshmen Rachel Hull, Brooke Wommack and Tiffany Wommack have helped the Wolves miss last year’s constant winner Carina Nieto.
“On the women’s side, it’s probably the best team I’ve seen at West Georgia. We’ve got three freshmen girls that came in and all three are right at the top. The only downfall we have right now is our No. 1 girl from last year, Carina [Nieto], she hurt her foot. So she hasn’t run yet,” Brooks said.
The meet will also be the first of the Georgia Division II Four Corners Cup Series. The Series will consist of four races held in the four corners of the state. The team with the best average time from the four races will win that cup for the year, have its name placed on the trophy until it is awarded the next year.
Creating a meet from scratch wasn’t easy for Brooks, but from the effort he believes Saturday will be a strong showing of things to come for the Wolves.
“We had to find pretty much everything because we’ve never had one before. Just a lot of preparation, getting the teams set up. It’s a lot of work,” Brooks said. “Just to have it in here and hopefully once people see how much we’ve put into it and how nice it is, we can get more and more [teams] and it will be something like [the Georgia high school state meet] at Carrollton.”