CMU will travel to Louisville, Ky. Saturday for the Pre-National meet after taking a break from competition this past week in order to rest and prepare for this weekend.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are coming off races where the result didn’t meet director of cross–country Willie Randolph’s expectation. The team remains focused and ready for competition this week, running against some of the top teams in the country.
The meet will take place at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. Fifteen nationally ranked teams will be featured in the event.
The men’s team will run in the 8k red seeded race at 9:30 a.m., and the women will compete in the 6k black unseeded race at 11:30 a.m. There will be 11 athletes competing on the men’s side, while the women will send ten runners.
Randolph said he welcomed the week break in order to keep the team fresh and get ready for the Pre-National meet.
“Anytime you have a week off, especially in cross-country, you welcome it,” Randolph said. “It allowed our team to stay fresh and allowed them to rest their minds and bodies … the team is excited to get out there and compete.”
During the last week of practice, Randolph said he emphasized to the team the importance of sticking to the game plan it’s had all season.
Randolph said he expects the team to compete, despite the increase in competition level.
“We have to keep reinforcing the game plan, which is to run together and remain in a pack and give the team constructive criticism,” Randolph said. “The biggest challenge for the team this time of the season is themselves … they need to be able to truly execute the game plan and what they have been practicing in order to be successful.”
As the season progresses and competition level increases, it can be hard sometimes to focus and get the mind and body ready for competition but Randolph said he expects this team to go out there and compete.
“They need to go out there and take care of business and not worry about the team and name on the jersey,” Randolph said.
Junior Krista Parks is looking forward to the meet and expects the team to perform better than in weeks past.
“We have to start performing better than we have,” she said. “I expect us to really pull together and compete better this week. We always work on staying as a pack and running together.”
Senior Matt Lutzke said he wants to see the team perform at a consistent level and execute their game plan.
“As a team, I would like to see us run in the top–half of the race, execute our game plan and run well, which means running together as a pack,” Lutzke said. “ This time of the year, the season starts to drag, but we have to keep with it and get after it during competition.”
Nationally ranked men’s teams competing include No. 3 BYU, No. 7 Colorado, No. 9 Tulsa, No. 14 Florida State and No. 15 Oregon.
No. 1 Florida State, No. 4 Oregon, No. 6 Georgetown and No. 8 Michigan are among the teams competing for the women. Ohio, Miami (Ohio), Akron, Toledo, Kent State and Eastern Michigan are the other Mid-American Conference schools competing.
CMU has another opportunity to make the trip to Louisville as they play host to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 17.