After exceptional performances at the Notre Dame Invitational, the men’s and women’s cross-country teams will end its two week hiatus and compete in Pre-Nationals at Indiana State.
At Notre Dame, both teams earned fourth place overall in a pool of tight competition, with Ethan Lievense and Krista Parks coming in as top finishers, placing third and seventh in their respective five mile and 5k races.
CMU’s performance also booted them up in the Great Lakes region rankings, both teams moving up to No. 12.
Now, head coach Matt Kaczor hopes to carry the momentum from Notre Dame to Pre-Nationals. The team is seeded in the race with the best teams in the competition, and Kaczor is looking to see where CMU stacks up.
“We’re hoping to beat some teams at Pre-Nats that will help us get into nationals,” Kaczor said. “We’re also excited to see how many good teams we can beat.”
In the pool of 52 teams of the men’s race, CMU will face its top competition in the Mid-American Conference. At Pre-nationals, the Chippewas will race No. 8 Eastern Michigan, No. 11 Akron, and No. 13 Miami in the Great Lakes region. The women will face off against No. 7 Toledo, No. 9 Miami (Ohio), and No. 10 Ohio.
For the past week, Kaczor said Lievense has been having great practices and he expects him to have a good race, along with sophomore Nate Ghena and redshirt freshman Spencer Nousain. Kyle Stacks, who was opened up in Notre Dame after battling a hamstring injury, will be crucial in bridging the gap between the front pack and the back.
On the women’s side, Parks hopes to repeat her great performance from Notre Dame where she earned her personal best time of 17:45.4 was good enough to earn her a top ten time as a Chippewa. Kelly Schubert has also been running well, and Kaczor hopes Breanne Lesnar, who also opened up at Notre Dame, will be able to help pull the team together.
“We should be competitive after two weeks of training after Notre Dame,” Kaczor said. “In the future, conference could go either way for both the men and the women. I’m excited to see how we stack up against the top four teams in the MAC.”