MOUNT PLEASANT - Following strong showings at Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., two weeks ago, both the men's and women's cross country teams will look to carry their momentum forward to Saturday's Mid-American Conference Championship Meet in Muncie, Ind.
Both the men's and women's teams are ranked highly among MAC squads in the most recent U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings, boding well for their races at 11 a.m. and noon, respectively. The men will try to improve on last year's eighth place finish, while the women will attempt to replicate their runner-up finish in 2010.
The men will compete on an 8K course, while the women will run a 6K.
"There is excitement and a little bit of nervousness before a championship meet like this, but more than anything they're really focused," said CMU director of track and field/cross country Willie Randolph. "They have the mindset that we've been working on all year long. We've been working toward this week, and now we're just ready to get it done."
The women are ranked ninth overall and third among MAC teams in the Great Lakes Region by the USTFCCCA after a strong ninth-place finish at Pre-Nationals. Sixth-ranked Toledo and eighth-ranked Miami are ranked ahead of the Chippewas. Ohio and Eastern Michigan are ranked 13th and 14th, respectively, in the Great Lakes Region.
The Chippewas return five of the seven scoring runners from last season's MAC runner-up squad, including seniors Raeanne Lohner, Holly Anderson and Veronica Garcia, junior Maddie Ribant and sophomore Krista Parks.
Lohner, who finished second last year, has been the women's fastest runner in each of her three races this season. Lohner finished 30th at the 6K Pre-Nationals in 21:35. Anderson and freshman Breanne Lesnar have competed for the second spot on the team all season.
The men's team, coming off a 15th place finish in Terre Haute, is ranked second amongst MAC teams in the Great Lakes Region. Ranked tenth overall, the Chippewas trail in-state foe Eastern Michigan by three spots. Kent State is ranked 11th in the region, while Buffalo is ranked 13th in the Northeast Regional rankings.
Sophomore Tecumseh Adams leads the Chippewas into Muncie as the men's top runner, finishing 17th at Terre Haute in 24:33 (8K). He has been the best CMU finisher in each of his three races. Junior Jason Drudge finished seventh overall at last season's MAC Championship race and has been a fixture at the two spot in the Chippewas' lineup this season.