Cross country competitions to generate $4.6 million for Huntsville

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UNA Head Cross Country Coach Jeremy Provence says the sport of cross country is growing rapidly. (Michael Seale / Hville Blast)

Cross country season is here, and this weekend Huntsville will be the premier location in the state for the sport, both on the high school and collegiate levels.

The North Alabama Showcase and Southern Showcase will take place at the John Hunt Cross Country Course this Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17. Want more details? Here you go:

A weekend full of cross country events

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John Hunt Park will be the site for some of the premier events in the state for cross country. (Huntsville Sports Commission)

Cross country is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country on the high school level, and John Hunt Park is a fabulous venue to showcase the incredible athleticism of the runners who participate. And hundreds of runners will compete this weekend at the park.

The North Alabama Showcase, a collegiate meet directed by the University of North Alabama, will start at 7:30AM on Friday, September 16 when the men’s 8K race will take place, followed by the women’s 5k at 8:15AM.

“The support and enthusiasm from the Huntsville Sports Commission and City of Huntsville has truly made this meet special. It’s awesome to see the entire north Alabama community embrace cross country! We are excited to be right in the middle of it and cannot wait to lace up the spikes and compete against an incredible field of teams this year.”

North Alabama Showcase director and UNA head cross country coach Jeremy Provence

The list of confirmed teams for this weekend’s races include:

  • University of Alabama
  • Alabama A&M
  • Alcorn State
  • Auburn
  • Augusta
  • Austin Peay
  • Bellarmine
  • Birmingham Southern
  • Bryan
  • Chattanooga
  • Covenant
  • Cumberland
  • Eastern Florida State
  • Eastern Kentucky
  • Emmanuel
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Gadsden State
  • University of Georgia
  • Georgia Tech
  • Jacksonville State
  • Kennesaw State 
  • University of Kentucky
  • Lamar
  • Lee
  • Memphis
  • Miles
  • Mississippi College
  • Mississippi State
  • New Orleans
  • North Alabama
  • Samford
  • South Alabama
  • South Florida
  • University of Southern Indiana
  • Southern Miss
  • Troy
  • Queens College
  • UAB
  • Central Florida
  • Wallace State
  • Western Kentucky
  • William Carey

The Southern Showcase is a two-day high school cross country meet directed by Huntsville High School. Races start at 3PM on Friday, September 16 with the last race of the day starting at 5PM.

“This is such an amazing opportunity for high school runners in the Huntsville area & state of Alabama at large to compete with the best the south has to offer on what has become one of the premiere cross country courses nationwide.”

Huntsville High School cross country coach Blake Borden

Saturday races start at 8:20AM with the final race starting at 10:40AM. Award ceremonies will follow the final race each day. This year’s event brings more than 140 teams from 10 different states for a total of over 4,000 runners participating. 

A full season of running at John Hunt Park

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John Hunt Park will host multiple cross country events this fall. (Michael Seale / Hville Blast)

The cross country season means John Hunt Park will be a mecca for runners this fall, with events slated for just about every weekend for the next few months.

Huntsville Sports Commission director Mark Russell said the North Alabama Showcase and Southern Showcase this weekend have a combined economic impact of approximately $1.4 million for the city of Huntsville.

The 2022 cross country season at John Hunt Park currently consists of 9 major events with a combined economic impact of approximately $4.6 million.

Huntsville will host the following events this fall:

  • September 16: North Alabama Showcase
  • September 16-17: Southern Showcase
  • October 14-15: Randolph Invitational
  • October 22: UAH Invitational
  • October 24: ACAA State Meet
  • October 29: ASUN Championships
  • November 11: NCAA DI Regionals
  • November 12: All Alabama State Meet
  • December 3: Garmin Running Lane Championship

“We’re honored to be the destination of choice for thousands of cross country runners. Runners are among the most disciplined and determined athletes, and we hope this course will challenge them and help set new records and personal bests.”

Mayor Tommy Battle

Both events this weekend are free to attend.

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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