The 14th-ranked CSU women’s cross country team will be traveling to Terre Haute, Ind., this weekend for a race of huge proportions.
“Beside the NCAA championships, this is the largest meet of the year,” coach Bryan Berryhill said.
Approximately 80 teams will be competing Saturday at the NCAA Pre-Nationals and because there are so many runners, two separate races for the women will be run.
The men’s team will stay home this weekend instead of traveling to Indiana as they have a few key guys that are ill.
Four of the top 10 teams in the nation will compete in the race, including No. 1 Stanford, No. 4 Minnesota, No. 7 Rice, No. 9 Michigan State and 11th-ranked Florida State, along with other lower-ranked teams.
“We are sixth in straight seeds,” Berryhill said. “But I think we could finish as high as second.”
The women’s team will be lead by April Thomas, who has consistently placed well and helped her team to top-place finishes in past.
Coach Berryhill believes that Thomas should be in the mix with the top 10 girls.
For the Rams’ second runner, Heather Loseke, the magnitude of the race is nothing new. She has been to several large meets and is ready to show off the Rams’ talents.
“This is the time to prove what we have,” she said.
Although her coach thinks she can finish in the top 20, Loseke is just focusing on running the race.
“I want us to just run and not worry about how we are going to do,” she said.
Even though Loseke isn’t nervous about this large meet, some of her teammates are.
Freshman Allison Gohl is feeling some butterflies.
“It is definitely the biggest race I’ve ever run in,” she said. “I am a little nervous for that.”
But Gohl has confidence in her team that the size of the meet will not rattle them and she believes they can shoot for a finish within the top five.
“We will do really well if we run well as a team,” she said.
This meet will allow the Rams to see the runners whom they might compete against if they make it to the national championships.
“After this meet, it sums up how good teams are,” Berryhill said.
Cross country beat reporter Anica Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org