The Ram men’s and women’s cross country teams will be competing in their only home meet of the season this weekend, as they play host to the Colorado State Classic. The meet is set to take place in the fields west of Hughes Stadium on Saturday morning and will feature competition from six other schools.
The players and coaches hope that the home meet will be a great chance for students and the community to see the two teams compete.
“It’s always nice, whether it’s [the cross-country team] or the football team, to have people to come see us compete and have the crowd support,” said Jeremy Freed, a junior runner for the men’s team.
Racing at home is business as usual, but being in front of a home crowd gives a little more motivation, the runners said.
“(The Classic) is definitely a smaller meet for us, but being in Fort Collins gives us more expectation to do better,” said Kirsten Anthony, a senior runner on the women’s team.
All week, the cross-country team members have been practicing hard and working together to continue building team chemistry, which is a big goal for this season.
“As a team, we try to run together with the chemistry and dominating force like we have in practice,” sophomore Allison Gohl said.
Schools that will compete this weekend include the UNC Bears and the Utah Utes women’s team. Also running will be Division II Western State College. The WSC men’s team finished second nationally, and their women’s team finished sixth nationally last season.
“We have some great teams coming in this year. Western State, from down in Gunnison, and the University of Utah’s women’s team should provide some great competition,” said Rams head coach Bryan Berryhill.
“We also have a lot of great teams with wonderful traditions from other parts of Colorado that will make this meet extremely competitive,” he said. “This meet will be our last preparation before we head into the heart of our schedule.”
This race will not count for NCAA qualifying points, but it will be on each team’s overall record.
The track is five kilometers long, which is just over three miles. It has several small hills that are hard-packed dirt with a few patches of grass.
The women’s race will start at 9:30 a.m., and the men’s race will follow at 10:15 a.m.
The race is also designed to be viewer friendly – a spectator can see the whole race by walking only a quarter of a mile.
There will be a race that is open to the public at 8:30 a.m., before the women’s competition. It will be the same course that the cross-country teams will run.
“The open race is a rare opportunity for runners to test themselves on a tough cross country course,” Berryhill said of the public race.
Cross country beat writer Scott Callahan can be reached at email@example.com.