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It will be the first "joint" venture between Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central.

The Purdue Northwest Classic, a men's and women's cross country invitational will take place Friday on PNC's campus in Westville. The two will become Purdue Northwest on July 1, 2016, and the academic and athletic programs will be unified.

PNC assistant Nicole Hartford has helped put the meet together along with Panthers coach Ali Bishel and PUC coach Stephanie Beck. Hartford said she expects a great race.

"We hope this event continues after the unification and both programs have come together to put this event together," Hartford said. "We have some good teams on both the men's and women's sides, and expect a quality meet."

Beck said she is looking to see if her men's and women's teams are ready for the meet.

"It is a great way to start the season," Beck said. "Roosevelt University has a strong women's team and Grace will be there as well as IUN (Indiana Northwest).

"With the unification, this is a great way to combine and put on a great meet."

Hartford said the two programs want to do well.

"We want to do as well as we can," she said. "Both schools want to make this year special."

Soccer weekend: Calumet College men's and women's soccer coach Justin Olson is excited abut this weekend's men's and women's Crimson Wave Invitational.

"That's usually how we start our season and we try to get quality teams in it," Olson said. "It's a great weekend with games going back to back. Our goal is to get both our men's and women's teams to the finals.

The men opened the season with a win at Viterbo (Wis.), while this is the opener for the women. All home matches are at E.C. Central High School.

"That was a big road win for us to start off," Olson said.

The women play St. Mary-of-the-Woods College at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in one semifinal and the men take on Marian University at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Mountain Madness: The Purdue Calumet women's volleyball team will head to Tennessee to play in the Milligan (College) Mountain Madness tournament this weekend and second-year coach Julie Wiejak sees it as more than playing some matches.

"We are hoping to do well, but it is a chance for the players to get to know each other and it will be sort of a bonding," Wiejak said. "We will face some good competition, but we think being in the hotel, eating together, it is also a great way to start the season."

More Mountain Madness: First-year Calumet College cross country coach Rick Torres took his teams to a camp in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

"We need to get to know each other and just do some running in the mountains," Torres said. "It will be good to get away and run in the Smoky Mountains."

It is a matter of Torres also getting to know his runners as he got the job in July.

"I am the third coach in less than a year," Torres said. "I got a late start, but this will be a good way to get ready for our season."

Chattanooga Choo-Choo: The Valparaiso women's volleyball team opens its season Friday at the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Classic. The Crusaders play the hosts Friday, then take on Eastern Kentucky and Troy (Ala.) on Saturday.

Coach Carin Avery's team is coming off a 25-win season and has won 20 or more matches for 13 straight seasons. According to the program's website, only 10 Division I volleyball programs have won at least 20 matches in each of the last 13 years.

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Sports Copy Editor

Jim is a copy editor for The Times who works out of Valparaiso. A South Central High School (1984) and Ball State ('89) grad, he’s covered preps most of his career. He received the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association’s Media Award in 1997.