The Marquette cross country teams will compete in their largest meet of the year this Saturday when Indiana State University hosts the NCAA Pre-National Invitational.
The meet will feature some of the best teams from across the country, with 18 of the top 30 teams featured in the 71-team men’s field, as well as 18 of the top 30 teams featured in the 80-team women’s field.
The race will be broken up into two heats due to its large size. Both Marquette teams will run in the first heat of their gender’s race.
Marquette looks to improve upon a stellar performance at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 2. Coach Mike Nelson called that performance “one of the best in Marquette cross country history.”
Nelson believes although the team did well, individual performances need to improve.
“I think if you go individual by individual, not everyone was at their best,” Nelson said. “I think if we want to improve (as a team), we will need to improve on an individual basis.”
Freshman Jack Senefeld echoed his coach’s sentiments regarding improvment of individual performances from the previous meet.
“Time wise (the Adidas Invitational) was one of our best meets,” Senefeld said, “but I certainly think we can all run better.”
Nelson also made it clear that the the invitational went a long way in preparing the teams for this upcoming meet.
“This meet will be very similar to the Wisconsin meet, except on a much larger scale,” Nelson said. “It will be very competitive and there will be a lot of teams that are better than us, and there will be a lot of teams that we will be better than. The course is also similar in that it should run fast.”
Junior Bekki Misanin said that the team strategy is to get off to a fast start and help each other out during the race.
“It’s going to be a very tough competition,” Misanin said. “There will be a lightning-fast-pace and it will be very crowded. It is important that start fast and stick together.”
Reflecting on its previous performance, Windt said the team needs to get off to a better start at the beginning of the race.
“At (Wisconsin), some of us got caught in the pack early on, and we had to fight our way up,” Windt said. “I think that can be avoided. I think we’re ready for a breakout performance as a team.”