The University of Wisconsin men’s and women’s cross country teams will begin their 2019 season Friday afternoon at the Badger Classic, where they will take on DePaul and Northwestern. Both teams are coming off of impressive seasons where they finished as two of the best teams in the country.

The women’s team ended 2018 with a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, led by now-seniors Amy Davis, Alicia Monson and Alissa Niggemann.

Davis was an All-American last season, while Monson and Niggemann both won in their events at the Big Ten Championships last fall.

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With that core and a great supporting cast of young athletes including eight freshmen, Wisconsin enters the season ranked No. 7 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association ratings — their highest ranking since 2007.

The women’s squad will also enter the season with a head coach in Mackenzie Wartenberger, who comes from the University of Utah after 11 years of coaching at the division-one level.

The women won the Badger Classic last season and look to repeat that performance this year as they have six of their seven runners returning this year.

The men’s team found similar success last season, finishing in eighth place at the NCAA Championships and first in the Big Ten. They will also be returning five of their seven runners this season, so don’t be surprised if they repeat that performance this season.

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This year’s bunch will be led by senior Olli Hoare, a four-time All-American and runner-up at the 2018 Big Ten Championships. Senior Olin Hacker also earned All-American honors last season at the 2019 Indoor Track & Field Championships.

The men are ranked No. 8 in the preseason USTFCCCA rankings, putting them right where they want to be entering the season, as there is still room for improvement.

Like the women, the men won the Badger Classic last year, so they will be looking a repeat performance this year behind their seniors and four new freshmen, including two impressive runners from overseas.

The Badger Classic will begin at 6 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 6. The women will be competing first followed by the men. Both meets will take place at the Zimmer Championship Course.