Cross Country Faces Stiff Competition at Pre-Nationals
Courtesy: CMU Athletic Communications
Watch: Cross Country Insider
MOUNT PLEASANT - Stiff competition awaits both the men's and women's cross country teams at Sunday's NCAA Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute, Ind.
The women's team, ranked ninth in the Great Lakes Region in the most recent U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association polls, will have to contend with eleven nationally-ranked or vote-earning teams in its 40-team 6K race at 11:40 a.m. Three of the five highest-ranked teams in the country will compete, including No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 Colorado and No. 5 Georgetown.
Two other MAC schools, Toledo and Ohio will also be competing with the Chippewas in the race. Toledo is ranked sixth in the Great Lakes Region, while Ohio is 14th.
Senior Raeanne Lohner, who finished 26th in 20:49 at last year's Pre-National meet in Terre Haute in leading CMU to a 15th place finish out of 38 teams, enters again as the top runner for the Chippewas. Senior Holly Anderson, junior Maddie Ribant and sophomore Krista Parks also return from last year's top seven.
Seniors Veronica Garcia and Christina Farrow, juniors Charnele Lyons and Jackie McEnhill, and freshmen Breanne Lesnar and Lauren Halm will also be running for the Maroon and Gold.
Central Michigan's men's team will face similarly tough competition in its 35-team 8k race at 11 a.m., with eight nationally-ranked or vote-earning teams in the field. Three top-ten teams - fifth-ranked Iona, seventh-ranked Indiana, and eighth-ranked Colorado - are scheduled to race.
The men will also contend with MAC foes Toledo and Ohio. Toledo is ranked 14th in the Great Lakes Region.
"We know we're going to see some of the top-ranked teams in the country this weekend, so we're going to have to truly run a team race," said CMU director of track and field/cross country Willie Randolph. "We're going to have to get into a very tight pack right from the beginning and stay in that pack until the very end. If we can do that, we can be successful this weekend and build confidence toward the conference championship meet."
Looking to improve upon its 34th place finish in last year's Pre-National race at Terre Haute, the Chippewas will be led by top runner sophomore Tecumseh Adams. Junior Jason Drudge is the top returning runner from last year's Pre-National team, along with sophomores Zach Tranter and Nathan Huff.
Juniors Matt Lutzke and Nathan Sanchez, and freshmen Kyle Stacks, Ben Wynsma, Ethan Lievense and Tanner Pesonen round out the line-up for the Chippewas.