The cross-country teams will travel this Friday to compete at the 58th annual Notre Dame Invitational.
Both the men and the women will be competing in the gold division, which will be made up of 26 teams for the women and 24 for the men.
Lead runners from last weekend’s Roy Griak invitational, Krista Parks and Nate Ghena, are hoping to repeat their strong performances. Parks’s 47th place and Ghena’s 80th earned them both the honors of being named Mid-American Conference cross-country Runners of the Week.
“On the women’s side, we’ll be seeing Eastern Michigan University for the first time this season and a few other ranked teams,” said head coach Matt Kaczor. “Our goal looks tough on paper, but if we can finish in the top five, that would be huge.”
For their second scored meet of the season, Kaczor plans on opening up Breanne Lesnar, who had been out due to injury. As the season progresses, the team has been stressing narrowing gap between the top runners, and Kaczor expects Lesnar will be mixed up with the top six, helping out the team substantially.
For the men, racers will run a five mile race. Junior Kyle Stacks, who was 2012 All-MAC Selection, will be running his first meet of the season. Throughout this fall, there has been a significant gap between the top three of Ghena, Spencer Nousain, and Ethan Lievense, and the latter half of the pack. Kaczor hopes Stacks will be able to run right up with the front pack, which will help the team towards the latter end of the season.
“I’d really like to see the front pack move up. If those top three guys can be in the top 20, that’d be huge for their confidence. Especially if we can get all five in the top 35th,” Kaczor said.
The men’s race will feature top-ten ranked Great Lakes region team, Indiana University-Purdue Univsersity Indianapolis, and the No. 15 team from the Midwest region, Bradley. At Griak, the men didn’t rise to the level of their competition, and Kaczor is excited to see how the team bounces back. He hopes that they’ll also be able to notch a top five finish.
In USTFCCCA rankings, the men dropped a position to 14th in the Great Lakes region after Griak, while the women stayed in 15th position.