Cross country hopes to finish season with a top 10 finish
Months of training — dating back in the early summer months — have led to this Friday’s regional, which has the potential to be the last meet of the year for the Central Michigan cross country team.
The Chippewas will compete in Madison, Wisconsin in the Great Lakes Regional Meet for a chance to advance as a team or as individuals to the NCAA National Championship Meet on Nov. 21 in Louisville, Kentucky.
The women’s team is ranked 11th and the men are ranked 13th in the region. Only the top two teams Friday are guaranteed a spot at nationals.
“I just hate double digits,” said Head Coach Matt Kaczor. “We want to be better than last year, but it’s going to take some work.”
Last year, the men placed 12th out of a field of 30 teams and the women placed 14th out of a field of 32 teams.
“As a team, we can be top 10 if everything comes together,” said senior runner Nate Ghena. “We were pretty close to having everything come together at the MAC Championship and if we keep moving forward with that, we can easily be top 10.”
At the MAC Championship Meet on Oct. 31, the women finished third and the men finished fourth.
“If we run like we did at the MAC Championship, I feel it is completely possible for us to be top 10,” said sophomore runner Kirsten Olling. “Especially since we ran very tightly together, we ran as a team.”
The women have placed in the top 10 three times since 2010 with their best finish coming in eighth place in 2010 and 2011. In the same span of time, the men have finished in the top 10 once, in 2011 when they placed seventh.
“I’d like to see us back in the single digits for our regional finish,” Kaczor said.
Both Olling and Ghena are eyeing a top 25 finish individually that would qualify them for them as All-Region. However, only the top four individuals move on to the National meet.
“If any two on our squad have a shot to make it out individually, those two have it,” Kaczor said. “They are running great, and I’d love to see them make it through.”
The women are competing in the 6K race as they have been most of the year, but the men will be running in their first 10K of the season.
“That extra 2K plays heavily into our hands,” Ghena said. “We are a 10K team. We train for this distance all year round, it’s my bread and butter. You just have to grind more.”
The meet is hosted by Wisconsin and will feature all Mid-American Conference Schools, with the exception of Northern Illinois and Buffalo, some Big Ten schools, along with other schools from different conferences such as ACC team Notre Dame.