MASON CITY – For the first time since 2005, the NIACC men's and women's cross country teams will host the NJCAA Region XI meet on Saturday.
The women's 5-kilometer race on the NIACC campus starts at 11 a.m. and the men's 8K race begins at noon.
"A lot of things have changed," NIACC coach Curtis Vais said about not hosting the regional meet since 2005. "The course has changed.
"It's exciting when athletes look on the schedule and see a home meet. They're in a place where they've trained all year. That's definitely a comfort to them."
In the men's race, Iowa Central is ranked No. 1 nationally, NIACC is No. 9 and Iowa Western is ranked 21st.
In the 5K men's regional time trial, which was also held in Mason City, Iowa Central won with 20 points and NIACC was second with 48 points.
NIACC's Wal Khat won the time trial in a time of 16 minutes, 13 seconds.
"On the guys' side, we're healthy," Vais said. "We're as healthy as we've been all year."
In the women's race, Iowa Central is ranked No. 1 nationally and Iowa Western is ranked 19th.
At the women's regional time trial, Iowa Central won with 22 points and NIACC was third with 93 points. Kendra Schmidt was NIACC's top finisher – placing ninth in 21:30.
"We're not as healthy as we'd like to be," Vais said. "Going into the season, this isn't what we really expected. But that's competition and that's athletics.
"We'll deal with what we have. They're going to work hard (Saturday). We'll go out and enjoy it and see how many all-region performers we can get up on the stand."
NJCAA Region XI cross country meet
Location – NIACC campus, Mason City.
Women's 5K race – 11 a.m.
Men's 8K race – Noon.
Awards banquet – 1:15 p.m. in the NIACC activity center. Meal is $10.