Oct. 2, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Tigers are back at it this weekend with a trip out to South Bend, IN, for the 58th Notre Dame Invitational. Races will kick off at 3:30 p.m. EST with the men's and women's open race, followed by the Women's Blue Division 5k at 4:15 p.m. EST and the Men's Blue Division five-mile at 5:00 p.m. EST.
"Notre Dame is traditionally one of the most competitive races in the nation," said Assistant Coach Shaylee Marr. "This year looks to be no different, and our teams are ready and excited to be in the mix."
The Tiger Women
Toeing the line for the black and gold in the Women' Blue Division will be freshman Kaitlyn Fischer, who has led the Tigers in both her meets thus far this season. Fischer's impressive freshman year began at the Arkansas Dual, where she placed 7th overall and earned an SEC Freshman of the Week nod for her efforts. She was also the top Mizzou finisher at the competitive Roy Griak Invitational last weekend, finishing 32nd overall as the fifth freshman across the line.
She will be joined by fellow-freshmen Kaelyn Balch, Nicole Mello, Kayla Wolf, and Brooke Wolfe. Balch, Wolf, and Wolfe have all finished consistently in the top seven for the Tigers this season, and Mello will be looked at to join them in her season debut on Friday.
Another season debut this weekend is junior Liz Reida, who was a consistent top three finisher for the Tigers last year. Rounding out the Tigers' blue division field are fellow-juniors Courtney Brown and Courtney Wood, and sophomore Sam Garrett.
"We are really excited for this race. We had a good showing at Griak and look forward to competing against some more great teams on Friday," said Marr. "We are excited for both Liz [Reida] and Nicole [Mello] to be in with our varsity pack. With them in the mix our 1-5 gap will become much tighter."
The Tiger Men
The Men's Blue Division will follow the women's race with the return of sophomore Tyler Schneider, who led the Tigers at the Roy Griak Invitational last week. Also lacing up the spikes is sophomore Evan Chiplock, who was the leading man for Mizzou at the Arkansas Dual earlier this season.
"We have a great group of men that will be competing this week," said Marr. "They are looking forward to another chance to compete against the nation's best cross country teams."
Joining them is a group of exciting freshmen, including the Tigers' second finisher at the Roy Griak Invitational, T.J. Carey. Dan Roe will also be back in action after he placed fourth the men at the Arkansas Dual, earning the SEC Freshman of the Week in the process. Other names to watch out for on the Tigers' roster are freshmen Jordan Cook and Drew White, sophomore Kenny Cushing, senior Sam Dickerson, and senior Hayden Legg.
The Open Race
A Tigers contingent will also hit the course in the open race, set to go off at 3:30 p.m. The women's 5k will feature freshmen Megan Cunningham, Kayla Friesen, Bailey Hession, and Libby Luciani; and juniors Ali Ross and Landon Wachter. Sporting the black and gold in the men's five-mile race will be freshmen Ian McGinn, Tom Rotondi, and Tyler Rusboldt; sophomores Chandler Dye and Chris Spudic; and junior Eric Dillon.
"We are an extremely deep program this year," said Marr. "It is important to have race opportunities for as many runners as we can. This open race will not only provide an opportunity for development, but also an opportunity to earn a spot in our conference and regional line-up."
Once again the Tigers will be pitted against some of the top-ranked programs in the NCAA, with seven nationally ranked women's teams and 12 nationally ranked men's teams slated to compete on Friday. Among those women's teams are two current top ten ranked teams - Florida State (No. 2) and Duke (No. 4). The men will also face off against two of the nation's top ten rankings with No. 7 Tulsa and No. 9 Princeton.
Also included in the field are several teams that the Tigers will meet later on at the Midwest Regional Championships. The Mizzou women had some key wins over fellow-Midwest Regional competition at last weekend's Roy Griak Invitational, placing 14th overall over South Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota State, Nebraska, Drake, and Creighton. They will look to continue climbing the regional rankings this week as they face off against No. 5 Northwestern, No. 6 Bradley, and No. 15 Illinois.
The men will also go up against some key regional competition, including No. 2 Tulsa, No. 3 Illinois, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 8 Southern Illinois, and No. 9 Loyola. The Tigers are currently ranked at No. 6 in the Midwest.
For more information on the Notre Dame Invitational, visit the meet page here. For the latest on your Tigers, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.