The CSU cross country teams travel to State College, Penn. this
weekend in a strategic move to solidify their national championship
Scheduled to compete this weekend at the Pre-NCAA’s in Waterloo,
Iowa, the Rams and head coach Del Hessel made the decision to
travel to Penn State instead. The revision allows the Rams to
compete against new teams, improve their national standing and
avoid the frenzy of the meet in Waterloo.
The Pre-NCAA meet fields 80 teams, each vying for a chance to
compete on the national championship course and run against
national-caliber programs. With the men’s third-place finish and
the women’s seventh at the Roy Griak Invitational two weeks ago,
the team can afford to run apart from other high-ranking teams.
Points toward nationals are garnered with victories over teams
outside your region, Hessel said. The Rams made a national
statement at the Griak, beating other high-ranking teams;
especially important was the men’s victory over Oregon.
The Rams locked up important points by beating the Ducks, but
with more points awarded later in the season, Oregon could have
gained valuable points by beating CSU in Waterloo.
“The Pre-NCAA is out of hand,” Hessel said. “We opted out
because we already had a very successful meet in Minnesota. Why
would I gamble giving Oregon a chance?”
After their strong finish at Griak the men were ranked eighth,
their highest national ranking ever. The women moved to twentieth
The ranking is gratifying, but the runners are far from being
“Things are going to change,” junior Matt Petit said. “It’s a
long season. Our team is pretty solid so we’re going to run the
best we can.”
The two weeks away from competition spurred the Rams on,
allowing for extra training and more time to bond.
“Our workouts have been great,” Petit said. “Our team is coming
together, we’re getting better.”
Hessel agreed and noted that in cross country the “emphasis is
on training, not on racing.”
With two weeks of training behind them, the Rams head to
Pennsylvania ready to continue their national exposure.
“People are going to see these blue-collar kids, who all of a
sudden are a national caliber team,” Hessel said.
This week’s Prefontaine:
Austin Vigil and Nicole Feest should lead the Rams past the
The women will try to settle the score with Providence and Penn