Joplin, Mo. -- The 23rd ranked Missouri Southern men's cross country program will look to take the home course advantage and qualify for nationals as the Lions play host to the 2012 NCAA Division II Central Regional Saturday morning at the MSSU Cross Country Course.
The Lions come into the regional ranked fifth in the region and 23rd nationally, but have been as high as 11th nationally and second in the region. Southern placed third at the 2012 MIAA Championships two weeks ago.
The race features seven nationally ranked squads that will vie for four automatic qualifying spots for nationals. In addition to the top four teams that go on to the race in two weeks in Joplin, the top 3-5 individuals that aren't part of an advancing team, will also qualify for nationals.
Augustana is the top team in the region and comes in ranked fourth nationally. Minnesota State is 12th, while Fort Hays State, fresh off its MIAA Title is ranked 17th. Southwest Baptist is 23rd, while Nebraska-Kearney is 27th and Northwest Missouri is ranked 30th.
The race will begin at 9:30 am Saturday morning.