MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich.- The men’s and women’s cross country teams are looking to get back on track at the Roy Griak Invitational this weekend following a bye week.
Held at the hilly Les Bolstad Golf Course in Minneapolis, Minn., the men's 8k race (1:20 p.m. EST) and the women’s 6k race (2:10 p.m. EST) will be the most difficult for the Chippewas this season, and will be the first scored meet of the season. Team scores will be determined by the cumulative finishes of the top five runners, with the lowest score taking the team title.
The women's field will feature 25 teams, 17 that are ranked regionally in Division I, while the men's race will have 22 teams, 15 of which are ranked regionally.
A handful of teams with national championship qualification aspirations will be competing, making this meet a measuring stick meet for both the men's and women's teams.
“What we are looking at for this race is really trying to close some gaps,” associate head coach Matt Kaczor said. “The main concentration on the men’s side is trying to find somebody that can close the gap between three and four. Our goal is to try and close that gap up as much as we can to minimize our point total.”
On the men’s squad sophomore Nate Ghena will look to pace the team after running to a fifth place finish and setting a personal best in the 8k at the Spartan Invitational with a time of 24:58, followed by freshman Spencer Nousain in sixth in 25:01 and junior Ethan Lievense in seventh 25:07.
The men are ranked 13th in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region, and third among MAC teams behind Miami (10) and Akron (11).
“On the women’s side it really is more of development,” Kaczor said. “Some of these ladies are still trying to get use to each other. That’s what we are looking for is getting more experience.”
The women will be led by senior Krista Parks, who finished eighth at the 6k Spartan Invitational in 21:32.
Sophomore Kelly Schubert, who finished 10th at the Spartan Invitational in a 6k personal best time of 21:47, will compete for spots in the scoring lineup with junior Abbey Kelto, sophomores Alyssa Dyer, Katelyn Maylee, Brooke Morgan and Jacquee Overbeek, and freshmen Esther Bell, and Katie Weiler.
The women are 15th in the Great Lakes Region, and fifth in the MAC behind Toledo (5), Ohio (8), Miami (OH) (9), and Eastern Michigan (13).
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