It’s nearing crunch time for the Red in this cross country season, as both the men’s and women’s teams will be traveling to compete against some of the best teams in the country. Members from both teams will be splitting up this weekend, with some heading to the Midwest to compete in the Wisconsin Invitational, and the rest heading to New Jersey to run in the Princeton Invitational.
With the Heps cross country finals just two weeks away, men’s cross country coach Zeb Lang ’03 says that he feels this weekend will be the opportunity for his top runners to really assert themselves.
“This is the last really big meet of our regular season,” he said. “This is the meet where I think our Top-10 or so individuals will get themselves ready for postseason competition. It’s really sort of the big finale for the regular season even though we host our home meet next weekend.”
Additionally, the Wisconsin meet will allow for the Red to put it all on the line against the best teams that the country has to offer.
“They are both annual meets,” Lang said. “The Wisconsin meet is an invitational, and in the last couple of years it’s become the central ground for some of the top teams in the country to compete together. Every team at this meet is a very high quality meet.”
Women’s cross country coach Artie Smith ’96 has spoken all season about preparing for the postseason by competing against the best teams, and says that he is excited by the opportunity to travel to Wisconsin.
“I think if you look at the competitions that we’ve been at, they’ve been getting more and more difficult,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get better against tough situations. It’s great to prepare for championship meets. You can’t duplicate that in practice.”
With meets on consecutive days, Lang said that he realizes that it is a lot to manage and that he will not be able to see all of his athletes compete.
“From a coaching perspective, it’s a lot to deal with logistically,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the trip out to Wisconsin, but unfortunately I won’t be able to see my guys run at Princeton.”
Although he will be unable to see all of his athletes race, Lang is nonetheless excited that this weekend presents his team with the opportunity for most of his team to compete.
“This way we’re able to get as many people to race this weekend as possible,” he said. Smith said the he realizes that this is the first time this season that his team has had to deal with this situation, but the team nature of his squad allows for this to happen smoothly. “It’s the first time this year that we’ve had to deal with this,” he said. “I think overall that’s great about this group is how flexible they are and how cooperative they’ve been with one another.”