San Diego, California - The San Diego State cross country team begins their 2019 season today when they compete in the annual Mark Covert Classic 5K at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, California.

The Aztecs will be competing against D1 schools such as Cal State Fullerton, California Baptist, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, UC Irvine, San Diego and Cal State Bakersfield among others.

The race is named in honor of Cal State Fullerton alum Mark Covert, who was the 1970 Division II champion. The Aztecs have competed in this race every year since 2012.

Last season, SDSU took eighth out of 14 DI schools with their entire squad competing in their first collegiate meet.

The course consists of multiple loops alternating between a 1K grass inner loop in the main section of the park and a dirt trail nature loop.

This year's squad features 11 returners; four juniors and seven sophomores.

"This year's team has much better team chemistry than last year," Coach Lusitana said. "They are a much more cohesive unit and far more confident and motivated than last year. The returners are more focused and mature and now understand what it takes to be successful at the DI level. It's very refreshing and I'm very encouraged by what I've seen thus far."

The Aztecs also have four freshmen, all of which are from California, who joined the team over the summer.

"The four freshmen are all very competitive and motivated to make the travel squad in their first year," Lusitana explained. "This has caused the returners to respond with the same level of competitiveness and focus. The thing I see this year is healthy competition between the girls with a focus and end goal of making us a better team."