Oct. 10, 2012
Columbia, Mo. – After an impressive showing two weeks ago at the Greater Louisville Classic, the Tigers are back on the road this week for the Fourth Annual Wisconsin Adidas Invitational. The meet will run on Friday (Oct. 12) at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course in Madison, and will boast 20 of the top 30 nationally ranked teams as released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
For the men’s field, those 20 ranked teams include No. 30 Missouri, who broke into the rankings for the first time since 2000 after a fourth-place finish in Louisville. The Tigers’ lead pack of senior Max Storms (Kansas City, MO), freshman Tyler Schneider (Shaumburg, IL), juniors Hayden Legg (Mexico, MO) and Merid Seleshi (Ontario, Canada), and sophomore Bryant Blahnik (Red Wing, MN) finished in a 28-second spread at Louisville. They led the entire squad to new personal records on the 8K cross country course.
“We have some great depth, which really comes in handy at a meet like this,” said 2nd year Head Coach Joe Lynn. “Louisville really opened the eyes of some of the guys on how fit they are right now. I plan on them building on this confidence and coming ready to compete against a much deeper field on Friday.”
As of October 2, these top five Mizzou men, along with sixth man, freshman Evan Chiplock (Saginaw, MI), hold six of the top 20 8K times in the SEC. Leading the way for Missouri is Max Storms, whose 24:09.72 performance at Louisville landed him in the fourth fastest spot in the SEC. Following him is Schneider, who ran a 24:23.54 to earn himself not only the seventh fastest SEC time, but also the fastest time for a freshman and the SEC Freshman of the Week award on October 2. Legg, Seleshi, Blahnik, and Chiplock also hold spots in the top 20 of the SEC thus far, with Chiplock being the second fastest freshman behind Schneider.
With the SEC Championships quickly approaching (Oct. 26), the presence of three other SEC teams in Wisconsin will give Missouri another opportunity to see where they measure up in the conference. The Tigers will have another chance to meet Georgia, who finished 3rd
in Louisville, and will go up against Arkansas (No. 19) and Texas A&M for the first time this season.
“We have great respect for the other schools in the league. Arkansas has been so dominant for so long. Georgia barely got us in Louisville and is built much like we are. And obviously we’ve seen Texas A&M a lot in the past, so we’re excited to compete against them,” said Lynn.
Other important teams for the Tigers to face as the Championship meets near are Oklahoma (No. 4), Minnesota (No. 16), Kansas, Iowa State, Iowa, and Nebraska, all of which are in the Midwest Region. No. 1 in the nation, Wisconsin, will also be racing, as well as the two-5th ranked teams, Iona and Portland, No. 8 Stanford, and No. 10 Syracuse.
The Men’s Championship Race will go off at 12:40 p.m. with Storms, Schneider, Legg, Seleshi, Blahnik, Chiplock, and senior Phil Bascio (St. Louis, MO) representing the black and gold. The Men’s “B” Race will go off at 2:00 p.m. with junior Tyler Compton (Buffalo, MO), sophomores Sam Dickerson (Moberly, MO) and JT McCarthy (Burlington, IA), and freshmen Kenny Cushing (Wentzville, MO) and Joe McKenna (Madison, WI).
The Lady Tigers will face an equally challenging field on Friday as they go against fellow-SEC teams from Vanderbilt (No. 12), Georgia, and Texas A&M. Senior Bailey Belvis (Prosper, TX), who is ranked as 16th in the SEC after her 17:20.59 performance in Louisville, will be looked to once again lead the Missouri women as they go up against 20 of the top 30 teams currently in the nation.
Belvis will be joined by junior Kaitie Vanatta (Littleton, CO), and sophomores Liz Reida (Springfield, MO), Courtney Wood (Neosho, MO), Courtney Brown (Palatine, IL), Maria Effinger (Swansea, IL), and Ali Ross (St. Louis, MO). This will be the second race of the season for Vanatta and Reida, who came out to help the team earn a 16th-place finish in Louisville.
“We’re getting healthier and fitter each week, so myself and the girls are excited to see where that progress is this week,” commented Lynn, who is in his first fall as women’s head coach. “We know we can be a strong team in the SEC and Midwest Region, so we’ve been focused on taking it one step at a time in preparation for November.”
The Tigers will once again face top-ranked Midwest Region team Iowa State (No. 5), who beat them out for first place at the Iowa State Invitational at the beginning of the season. Minnesota (No. 27), Northwestern, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska will also be present, giving the Tigers an opportunity to see how they match up against other regional teams. Iowa State will be joined by five of the other top ten-ranked teams in the country, with No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Washington, No. 7 Stanford, No. 9 Cornell, and No. 10 Michigan State.
The Women’s Championship Race will go off at noon, and the Women’s “B” Race at 1:20 p.m. with junior Chelsea Chrisman (Eureka, MO), sophomore Brianna Westervelt (Kansas City, MO), and freshmen Sam Garrett (Columbia, MO) and Faith Summey (Eldoret, Kenya) competing.
For more information on the meet, visit the University of Wisconsin website. For updates after the meet, check back at mutigers.com and follow us on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.