This Friday, the UCSB men’s and women’s cross country teams will be in South Bend, Ind. to compete in the 48th annual Notre Dame Invitational.

The Gauchos will face some of the top cross country programs in the nation.

“It’s a test. This is no quiz,” men’s and women’s cross country Head Coach Pete Dolan said. “We’re a good team and we want to test ourselves.”

The Gaucho men will have the opportunity to compete against an impressive field that includes #9 Central Michigan, #10 Eastern Michigan, #17 Notre Dame and #27 Duke.

“We need that experience,” Dolan said. “It’s obvious that when you compete against the best, the best is drawn out of you.”

The men will run the 8K course. They will send seniors Pablo Gallegos, David Monico and Chris White, junior Jeff Gardina and sophomores Art Avitia, Alex Cardiasmenos and Scott McConville.

On the women’s side, they will face an even tougher field that includes #3 Notre Dame, #6 Wake Forest, #16 Duke and #30 Washington.

“[The women] are ready for Notre Dame,” Dolan said. “They don’t know how good they are yet. I think they will understand how good they are after the weekend.”

The Notre Dame Invitational will be the last race until the NCAA Pre-National Meet at the University of Northern Iowa on Oct. 18.

“This is without a doubt the best women’s team ever assembled [at UCSB],” Dolan said. “We’re going [to Notre Dame] to practice racing. The test for them is pre-nationals.”

The women will run the 5K course. They will send seniors Tiffany Armel and Desiree De Jesus, juniors Desiree Leek and Cosette Smith and sophomores Lauren Christman, Lindsay Christman and Stephanie Rothstein.

“There’s going to be a lot of ranked teams at Notre Dame,” Assistant Coach Jeff Jacobs said. “They will get experience. It will be similar to the course and competition of nationals.”

The lady Gauchos are looking forward to the competitive race.

“I think it will be good for us,” De Jesus said. “It will be good experience to run against that level of competition. It will help us for pre-nationals and nationals.”