Ready, set, go!

Thirty-one teams will be competing, as the Golden Eagles will be facing off against the best of the best in college cross country. Twenty-nine of the 30 teams that were ranked in the most recent national poll will be in attendance, including No. 1 Brigham Young. Geographic rival Wisconsin will also be there, as will future Big East conference mates No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 10 Georgetown and No. 15 Villanova.

Five of the top seven runners who will compete for Marquette have run in at least one national championship meet — seniors Brianna Dahm, Jamie Haro and Audrey Schiltz, and sophomores Jodi Jakubek and Susie Emond.

Dahm, Haro and Schiltz were around for the team’s first trip to the Nationals in 2000, the beginning of the Golden Eagles’ four-year run of qualifying. The team finished 27th, while Dahm finished 205th overall, fourth for the team, and Schiltz finished 221st overall, sixth for the team.

In 2001, Marquette finished in 15th place, with Dahm finishing in 51st overall and first for the team and Schiltz finishing in 201st and seventh for the team.

In 2002, Marquette finished in 18th place, with Jakubek taking 75th overall and second for the team, Haro taking 148th overall and fifth for the team, and Emond taking 207th overall and seventh for the team.

Head coach Dave Uhrich has been pleased with the four-year qualifying streak.

“That’s something I’m very proud of because it shows the consistency, and it’s been with different people each of those years,” he said.

Only 12 other teams in the nation have qualified for the National Championships each of the past four years.

“That’s pretty exclusive company,” Uhrich said.

Although the team dropped to 28th in the most recent national poll, Uhrich feels that they should finish higher than that.

“I think the biggest thing is that we’re looking to beat some of the teams in the upper teens, low twenties, which is where I think we should be ranked,” he said.

The team is coming off a solid performance at the qualifying meet and seems to be peaking well, something that Uhrich had hoped would happen.

“You want to run well in the early season meets, but you want to run your best at the end of the season, and I think we’re doing that just right,” he said. “I think everything’s falling into place and they’ll really be ready to go next Monday.”

For two of the three seniors on the team, this will be the last race of their cross country careers. Haro and Schiltz will graduate this year, while Dahm has one more year of eligibility left after she red-shirted last season.

“They’ve been such a big part of this for the last four years, and I’m certainly very proud of them ,” Uhrich said. “It’s going to be sad to see it end, that this is their last meet.”

The course at Northern Iowa will be very familiar to the Golden Eagles, who ran there a little over a month ago during the Pre-NCAAs, where they finished 8th.

“Our team really likes this course,” Uhrich said.