This Saturday the Rams cross country teams will be going to Eugene, Ore., to compete against the best cross country team in the nation, the University of Oregon Ducks. Eugene has been called the Running Capital and Track Town USA, and the city held the U.S. Olympic trials this past June before sending American athletes to Beijing.
The third annual Bill Dellinger Invitational has nine big schools competing this year, but none as tough as the host. U of O is ranked No. 1 in both the men’s and women’s national rankings.
CSU is coming fresh off a three-week break but is ready to compete again. Their first two races of the season ended in the winner’s circle, including a pair of first place finishes at home in the Colorado State Classic.
“The break was good for us. We had an extra week of training. It takes a lot out of you, so having the break is good. But now we are hungry to compete,” said senior runner Kirsten Anthony.
The Rams made an appearance in the invitational last year, when the men’s team finished 11th, led by Jeremy Freed, and the women’s team finished fourth, lead by Aril Thomas. This year they are looking to do better and finish higher in the race.
This race will be important for a couple of reasons, the runners said. This meet will be a good challenge for the five young freshman of the women’s team, and will be a good test for the women’s team as a whole.
“I’ll have a much better idea of how good we are after this meet with this young of a (women’s) team,” said head coach Bryan Berryhill.
For the men, this race is also important, as it could potentially give CSU recognition nationwide.
“It is important, because everyone wants to race well to show the country we are competing for nationals. We want to show up on a national scale,” said junior runner Jeremy Freed.
The Rams will have nine runners for each team representing CSU on Saturday. The men will be looking to Freed and sophomore Daniel Wallis to lead them, and the women will look to Anthony and sophomore Allison Gohl, who were each in the Invitational last year.
The course itself will be the same as it was a year ago on the back nine holes of the Springfield Country Club along the Mohawk River. The track is a 2K loop around the golf course. The women will run three times around the track for their 6K race, and the men will run the same track four times for their 8K race.
Cross country beat writer Scott Callahan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.