UW Harriers Ready For Pre-National Invitational

Oct. 13, 2011

LARAMIE, Wyo. - Wyoming's cross country program will take its talents to Indiana this weekend for an event on the course which will host the national championships later this season.

The Cowboys and Cowgirls will run in the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., on Sunday.

The details
Indiana State was selected to host the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships for the eighth straight year and the ninth time in the last 10 years. The host for the national championships also hosts the pre-national invitational each year.

The meet will begin at 9 a.m. Mountain Time with the men's race, and the women's race will follow at 9:40 a.m. Mountain.

Who will be there
The men's field for the 8,000-meter race will feature teams like Colorado, Colorado State, Florida State, Indiana, New Mexico State and Kansas State. Wyoming coach Randy Cole coached Kansas State from 1997-2003.

The women's field for the 6,000-meter event includes Colorado, Florida State, Georgetown, Indiana and New Mexico State.

"You have a big, big field of runners," Cole said. "The men will run with 35 other teams and the women will run with 40 teams. There's going to be more than 300 runners in each race.

"It's going to be a huge field, and that will be a challenge to our runners, to negotiate that amount of runners. It's a pretty exciting opportunity."

The course
The meet will take place on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sport Center in Terre Haute.

Cole said the terrain is rolling and wide and pretty challenging, but there's potential for good performances.

"If it's firm, dry conditions, then we could run it pretty fast," Cole said.

What it could mean
"It's going to be a big field and some great competition, with a lot of nationally ranked teams," Cole said. "For us, it'll be another step forward to see how we can continue to get more competitive and toughen up."

Cole's teams still are dealing with some injuries, and whether the full lineup runs will be a race-day decision. Senior Greg Miller, perhaps the team's top runner, is dealing with a foot injury, and for the women, junior Abi Bever has an ankle issue.

"If we don't (have everyone available), kids are still going to get to race and get a chance to compete and that'll help them," Cole said.

Cole said if he has everyone at his disposal and healthy, he thinks a top-eight or top-six finish would be reasonable for the men. The women, who will have freshman Holly Page for her first collegiate race, hope to get in the upper half of the field.