Simmons Cross Country will move to varsity status for the fall 2011 season. The program was restored in 2008 as a club team after a 20-year absence from the Department of Athletics. This will be the first varsity cross country offering at Simmons since 1991. Head Coach Kevin O'Brien will return to lead the Sharks this fall after working to rebuild the club program in 2010.
Director of Athletics Ali Kantor sees the transition as a way to offer more competitive varsity opportunities to more Simmons student athletes with the same level of support and funding as the nine other varsity programs already offered at Simmons.
"I'm absolutely thrilled for our women," said O'Brien. "Last season they proved that they run with as much heart and as much athleticism as any team in the conference, and everyone--from athletes to coaches to the Simmons administration--everyone recognized that these women deserve to compete at the varsity level. Now that our team has a chance to do that, we want to make the most of it."
The Sharks' race schedule will be announced at a later date, but the season will conclude with the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championships on October 29, 2011.