Oct. 17, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Homecoming is right around the corner here in Columbia and while that means fun and celebration for Mizzou students, for Tigers cross country it means only one thing - Championship season. This weekend marks the final regular season competition for the teams as they split forces between the Bradley Pink Classic in Peoria, IL, and the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in Madison, WI.
The Wisconsin Adidas Invitational
The Adidas Wisconsin Invitational has a tradition of being one of the premier meets in the nation, and this year seems to be no exception as 19 of the 35 teams set to hit the line are currently holding positions in the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) National Rankings. Eleven Tiger men will hit the line against these powerhouse programs, with the plan of executing a race plan to position themselves for a spot in Terre Haute at the NCAA Championships.
Among the men who will sport the black and gold in Saturday's race is freshmen T.J. Carey, who led the Tigers at the Notre Dame Invitational two weeks ago. Joining him are sophomores Evan Chiplock and Tyler Schneider, who led the way at the season opening Arkansas Dual and the Roy Griak Invitational, respectively. Freshmen Jordan Cook, Chandler Dye, Ian McGinn, Dan Roe, and Drew White; sophomore Kenny Cushing, junior Sam Dickerson, and senior Hayden Legg will also take the line at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course.
"This group of men having been working out extraordinary well together the past few weeks", said third year men's head coach Joe Lynn
. "We're about as healthy as we've been all season, so we're expecting a solid team showing on Saturday."
Among the 19 currently ranked teams who are set to compete on Saturday are fellow-SEC competitors Arkansas, who are currently ranked No. 6 in the nation. No. 26 Florida is also set to compete, along with Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.
Three of the top ten ranked teams in the Midwest Region will also toe the line: No. 4 Minnesota (also No. 22 in the nation), No. 5 Iowa State, and No. 8 Illinois. The Tigers are currently holding No. 7 in the Region.
"We always stress not putting any focus to those around us during races and letting that determine how you race. This Saturday will be no different. While we know we are competing in a race virtually as tough as the NCAA Championships, we know we need to focus on what we can control and put together a solid effort for one another", said Lynn
The Bradley Pink Classic
The weekend's action will kick off with the women and a contingent of the men who are making the trek to Peoria for Friday's Bradley Pink Classic.
The Tiger Women
Eighteen Tigers will hit the course with races set to go off from the Newman Golf Course starting at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. Looking to lead the Tigers once again will be the duo of junior Liz Reida and freshman Kaitlyn Fischer after their impressive finish together at the Notre Dame Invitational two weeks ago. Joining them are freshmen Teylar Adelsberger, Kaelyn Balch, Megan Cunningham, Kayla Friesen, Bailey Hession, Libby Luciani, Nicole Mello, Kayla Wolf, and Brooke Wolfe; sophomore Sam Garrett; and juniors Courtney Brown, Ali Ross, Landon Wachter, Brianna Westervelt, and Courtney Wood; and senior Marie O'Leary. The race will end the day in Peoria with a 5:05 p.m. start time.
"We're really excited to see how this group has progressed since Notre Dame. The first few meets have been good trial runs, now we have our bearings back a little and been together on the same page in workouts as a whole team, I'm expecting much improved results", said Lynn, who is in his second year as women's head coach. "This is an extremely young group having only one senior, so keeping our focus from the gun till the line will determine how much we continue to move forward".
The Tiger Men
Seven Tiger men will join the women in Peoria, with their 8k Race set to go off at 4:25 p.m. Lining up in the black and gold are freshmen Will Crocker, Adam DeSplinter, Grant Inskeep, Tim Johnson, Tom Rotondi, Tyler Rusboldt, and senior Jon Hughes.
"This is a great opportunity for this group of guys to gain some varsity experience in a competitive meet. For most of them, it'll be the first time since high school they're being counted upon to score, so I'm excited for them and to see how the step up to the challenge", said Lynn.
Among the 24 teams featured in the Women's Championship Race, and the 22 in the Men's Championship race, are several that the Tigers will meet again in a few weeks at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship. Among the 12 regional teams in the women's race are No. 5 Bradley, No. 11 Wichita State, and No. 14 Saint Louis. The men will also face off against 12 Regional competitors, including No. 10 South Dakota State and No. 15 Wichita State.
For more information on the Bradley Pink Classic, check out their home meet page here. For more information on the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational, check out the meet page here.
For the latest on your Tigers, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.