Cross Country Competes at NCAA Regionals Friday
Nov. 11, 2015
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The women’s championship race will be run on a 6,000-meter course at noon followed by the men’s 10,000-meter race at 1 p.m. on Friday.
The Golden Eagles will come full circle with this regional taking place at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course, having raced it in the first meet of the season back in September. It will mark the fifth time MU has visited the course since the beginning of the 2014 season and the fourth-straight season that it will host the Great Lakes Regional.
Head coach Mike Nelson states familiarity is an important factor when going into a race of this magnitude.
“It’s valuable for us to already have a good idea of the layout of the course,” Nelson said. “To know strategically how the race is run, certain hills in certain spots and knowing when to push or when to back off a little bit; it definitely is an advantage to have run this course before. That said, it’s the fourth year in a row here and the teams are the same, so everyone has a good idea about the course.”
Marquette is coming off a solid showing at the BIG EAST Conference Championships back on Oct. 31, that saw the men take fifth and the women finish sixth. Junior Brittney Feivor became the first Marquette All-BIG EAST honoree since 2007 after finishing 10th overall in a school-record time of 20:07.1. Not far behind her was sophomore Jennifer Parker with a 22nd-place finish in a personal-best time of 20:34.4.
The performance broke the Golden Eagles into the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Regional rankings this week, coming in at No. 15 and looking to climb with a good showing on Friday.
“The big goal for us is to beat our 15th ranking and for us to do that is for each girl to go out and run their best race,” Nelson said. “We’re in a good spot and healthy going into this competition. If you can put seven healthy women on the starting line, you’re already giving yourself an edge because it’s been a long season and being healthy is a competitive advantage.”
For the men, they enter this weekend with momentum after a great effort at the BIG EAST Championships. Sophomore Alec Miller has been the team’s pacemaker all season long and led the Golden Eagles with a 28th-place finish last weekend. Freshmen Jon Klaiber and Brad Eagan, along with juniors Cody Haberkorn and Nate Gomoll rounded out the top-five for MU at the BIG EAST Championships.
They will look for yet another solid performance on Friday, but it won’t come without the challenging task of taking on a 10,000-meter course for the first time this year.
“Our goal is to score better and finish higher than our 18th-place finish from last year,” Nelson said. “Despite the move from 8K to 10K, we’re not preparing any differently. The goal will be for each guy to run the best race that he possibly can and to get ourselves in good position.”
The collective talent in the Great Lakes Region is one that is unrivaled by few on both sides.
“On the women’s side, the Great Lakes Region was definitely the most competitive region last year as the national champion (Michigan State) came out of our region,” Nelson said. “The way the regional system is set up, every region has a handful of competitive teams up toward the front.”
The top-two teams in each of the NCAA’s nine regions advance to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21 in Louisville, Kentucky, along with 13 additional at-large teams, selected by the NCAA. Each of the top-25 individual finishers at Friday’s meet will receive All-Region recognition with the top-four individuals not on a qualifying team advancing to the NCAA Championships.
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