After disappointing finishes in their last meet at Notre Dame, the CSU track teams will look to use this week's pre-NCAA meet in Terre Haute, Ind. to improve in the point standings.
"The pre-NCAA meet is an important race," said sophomore Heather Loseke. "It will help determine whether or not we go to nationals. As a team we hope to do well and work together."
This meet will not only be important but also challenging.
"This race is a big one, there are a lot of different schools. I was told by some of the other guys that there are supposed to be 25 of the top 30 teams at the race," said freshman Scott Sanders. "This race will also be a great stepping stone into NCAA nationals."
One of the most challenging aspects of the race is who CSU will take on; the opponents who finished in front of them at Notre Dame.
"One of our main goals at this competition will be to beat teams we faced at Notre Dame," said Sanders. "We want to do well against teams like Florida State and it will help us get to nationals."
Among the teams that will challenge the men are No. 3 Colorado, No. 4 BYU and No. 5 Stanford. The women's competition will feature teams such as No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 BYU and No. 5 Illinois.
"We are hoping we can use the Notre Dame meet as experience and step our performance up," Loseke said. "We should be stronger and keep pushing throughout the race and make every point count."
The difficultness of the race has not been lost on the men.
"There will be a lot of teams that we competed against at Notre Dame," Sanders said. "We can beat them. And in order to get to nationals we need to do well."
Aside from getting an invite to nationals, the teams are looking to make a name for themselves this weekend.
"Most teams in conference have had a good look at us and know we are good," Sanders said. "Now we will get a chance to show everyone in the nation and show we deserve an automatic bid to nationals."
The teams will be trying to use the cohesiveness they've developed as a team to help them place high in the events.
"This week we talked about pacing. In our last race we ran too fast to start out," Sanders said. "If we went out hard together, with rhythm that would have helped. But we never got into rhythm."
But as much as the team effort is important, every individual is expected to compete at the top of his or her level.
"I'm not sure what place I will get, but I have been finishing in the middle of the pack the last few races," Loseke said. "But I do want to be in the top 100 and just have a great race for the team."
The race will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.