Duck XC, Aug. 9 Oregon cross country and track and field head coach Robert Johnson announced on Wednesday the Ducks’ 2018 cross country schedule, which includes a pair of home meets to kick off the season. The Ducks are entering their first cross country season with associate head coaches Ben Thomas and Helen Lehman-Winters, who were both hired in recent weeks to help direct the cross country and distance programs. “We are excited to get the season started, and to officially welcome Ben and Helen to the incredible Eugene community with our two home meets in September,” said Johnson. “We have some great opportunities this season to test our strength, resiliency and teamwork, and to showcase who we are at both the conference and national level.” Oregon will open its 2018 season with the Oregon XC Preview onThursday, September 6, on Pre’s Trail in Alton Baker Park near Autzen Stadium. The Ducks will then host their annual Bill Dellinger Invitational at Springfield Golf Club on Friday, September 21. UO will get an early look at the national championship course on Saturday, October 13, when the Ducks travel to Madison, Wisc., to close regular-season action in the Wisconsin Pre-Nationals meet on Zimmer Championship Course. The Ducks’ first championship opportunity of the cross country slate will come in Stanford, Calif., where they will run for conference titles on Friday, October 26, in the 2018 Pac-12 Championships. The NCAA West Regional meet will be contested in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday, November 9. The Ducks will look to finish in the top two at the West Regional meet to earn an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championships, or hope they have built up a strong enough resume throughout the season to receive an at-large bid. The 2018 NCAA Championships are set for Saturday, November 17, at Zimmer Championship Course in Madison.