For the CSU cross country teams, it all starts now.
The teams will head to the Bill Dellinger Invitational at the University of Oregon on Saturday. The meet will mark the beginning of a series of meets for the team that will include good competition and fast races.
“This is our first big weekend,” coach Bryan Berryhill said.
At the meet, CSU will face many nationally ranked teams, including No. 1 Wisconsin and No. 3 Oregon on the men’s side. The women will race against the likes of Arkansas, Georgia, Washington and BYU, ranked 4th, 15th, 17th and 18th, respectively.
“Anytime when you got to a meet like this where you accumulate points, you try to knock off as many teams that you can,” Berryhill said about his team facing stiff competition.
The pressure is on senior April Thomas, as she is the highest returning finisher from last year’s NCAA championships to run in the invitational.
“I know I am the highest returning finisher from last year,” Thomas said, “but I figure that it is a new year with new levels of fitness.”
This ranking lets Thomas know where she needs to be in the pack– at the front, she said.
Coach Berryhill has been encouraged by this week’s practices, which have been very productive on both the men’s and women’s side.
“The men need to perform on Saturday as we have performed in workouts this week,” said Berryhill. Consistency is the key for the men.
The women, who have been strong and consistent since the beginning of the season, look to be competitive at the meet.
“I would love to see us (as a team) get third,” Thomas said.
This is the second annual Bill Dellinger Invitational, which will be held at the Springfield Country Club. The women will run a 6,000m race beginning at 9:15 a.m., while the men run the 8,000m race at 10 a.m., Pacific Time.
Cross country beat reporter Anica Wong can be reached at email@example.com
List of 15 men’s teams:
/ Colorado State, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington, Cal Poly, Portland, UCLA, Alabama, Duke, Georgia, Marquette, New Mexico, Ohio State, Utah State and UTEP.
List of 15 women’s teams:
/ Colorado State, Oregon, Arkansas, Georgia, Washington, BYU, Marquette, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon State, Portland, UCLA, Utah State, UTEP and Wake Forest.