Cross Country Treks Back to Indiana
Oct. 14, 2009
Two weekends ago, the UA cross country program faced its first true test of the season at the Notre Dame Invitational. If that was big, then Saturday’s NCAA Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute, Ind. will have the have the look and feel of a national championship meet, literally.
This weekends meet will provide the Wildcats with a look at what it’s like to compete at a premier collegiate level as the LaVern Gibson Cross Country course is not only home to the 2009 NCAA National Championships but also will host essentially the “Who’s who?” of Division I cross country this weekend.
On the women’s side, 18 of the top 30 programs in the country will be in competition—including the USTFCCCA consensus No. 1, Washington. The women enter the weekend ranked fifth in the NCAA West Regional and 39th overall in the country.
The squad, led by junior Maggie Callahan, sophomores Hanna Henson and Hannah Moen and a host of freshmen, had an impressive showing at the Notre Dame meet and have looked strong early in the season. They will look to keep that momentum going as the squad heads into crunch times as far as earning a National Championship bid.
The men’s competition may be even more competitive than the women in the fact that they have 19 top-30 teams in attendance, eight of which are ranked in the top 10.
The UA men were the receivers of some unfortunate circumstances at the Notre Dame meet after a strong opening just two weeks earlier at the Dave Murray Classic in Tucson. Running essentially without their top three runners, the men struggled but will look to rebound this weekend and show they can compete amid the big dogs.
Saturday’s meet will be the last for the Wildcats before their early Halloween showdown in Los Angeles for the Pac-10 Conference Championships on Oct. 30.
So many teams will be in attendance this weekend that both the men’s and women’s races were split in two. The UA men will compete in the 8000-meter ‘Blue’ race around 11 a.m. EST while the women will kick off the 6000-meter race at 12:20 p.m.