Cross country travels to Louisville, Kentucky as it competes in the NCAA DI Pre-National Tournament for the first time as an eligible competitor.
The Wildcats have ran well all year, especially on the women’s side, but have not competed in two weeks due to heavy rain cancelling the inaugural Wildcat Open, which was supposed to be held on September 30. Their last competition was at the well-known Roy Griak Invitational, where the women finished 7th overall thanks to the Hackett sisters- Michaela finishing 8th overall and Allie with a 15th overall finish.
Distance Coach Jarvis Jelen said the run could have gone better, but helped show where they were in preparation for pre-nationals.
“Overall we had an OK day as a team,” Jelen said. “It’s expected that some people are going to have an off day when racing on a very difficult course and weather conditions. However, we still beat some solid teams and gained valuable information to better ourselves for NCAA Pre-Nationals.”
The women have a solid starting four in the Hackett sisters, Diana García Muñoz and Carnley Graham, but head coach Lance Bingham says the fifth spot is going to be crucial.
“As a team [results] kind of depends on how that fifth runner comes along and runs well,” Bingham said. “But it looks promising, they’re really running well, I’m proud of them, good effort.”
Bingham said the competition for that final spot has been competitive.
“We’ve got a really strong starting 4,” Bingham said. “We’ve also got a number of girls who could finish in that fifth spot- girls like [Soren] Underwood, Sierra Bennett, and even freshman Brianna [Gerlach] is running strong.”
Although it has been the women garnering much of the attention thus far, Bingham said the men could surprise some people.
“I think this meet this week is going to be indicative of how they are going to be able to finish the season. I think they are in a good place,” Bingham said. “They are running really well as a pack. That’s very advantageous to your team to be able to support one another and run together.”
Pre-Nationals will be held at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park. A time has yet to be determined.