The men's and women's cross country programs have returned to Gallaudet University as announced by Director of Athletics Michael Weinstock. The programs will be led and coached by Mikaela Gardner, who also serves in the same capacity at GU for the men's and women's track and field programs. "I want to give our students opportunity to maximize their athletic experiences here at Gallaudet University. It is vital for us to support and operate the cross country program to help us meet the NCAA sport sponsorship requirement which is currently at 12 sports per institution for Division III," said Weinstock. "Mikaela has already established herself as a great coach as she led our track and field programs this past spring which included one of our student-athletes competing in the NCAA championships. She has previous experience with cross country as an assistant coach here. Our hope is to have the campus and the students show support for this program. Hopefully, some runners will find interest in participating in both cross country and track and field." The cross country program ceased operation last September due to lack of runners to support both programs so Gallaudet could compete at the NCAA Division III level. There has only been one conference championship in the history of the Gallaudet University cross country program. The 1942 Gallaudet men's cross country team won the Mason-Dixon conference championship. Gardner will enter her first year at the helm for the cross country program after serving as an assistant coach in 2010. She is familiar to Kendall Green as she spent two years as an assistant coach with the track and field program before being promoted to head coach last October. She helped to coach All-American track and field triple jumper Darius Flowers this past spring as he represented Gallaudet at the NCAA championships. "We have committed runners at Gallaudet who are eager to train and compete this fall," said Gardner. "We are hopeful that this season our athletes will perform well and achieve personal goals. In addition, the work put down this fall will carry over into the track and field season as many of our cross country athletes will compete this spring as well." The first meet of the 2011 season for the men's and women's cross country teams will take place on Saturday, September 10, in Westminster, Md., as the Bison run in the Green Terror Invitational hosted by McDaniel College. Gallaudet will then participate in the Coach Achtzehn Classic at John Rudy Park in York, Pa., hosted by York (Pa.) College on Saturday, September 17. The Bison stay in the state of Pennsylvania the following week, as they will run in the Dickinson College Long-Short Invitational at Big Spring High School in Newville, Pa., on September 24. GU will enter the month of October on the 8th when they lace up their running shoes in the DeSales Invitational in Center Valley, Pa. A week later the Bison return to Maryland to participate in the Hood College Invitational in nearby Frederick on October 15. Two weeks later, the Bison will make their first appearance at the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championships when they travel to Cobleskill, N.Y., on October 29. If the Bison have any runners qualify for the ECAC championships or NCAA regional championships those meets will take place in November. Students interested in participating on one of the GU cross country teams should contact us for more information.