Cross Country hosting Big East Championships

The Marquette men’s and women’s cross country teams will host the 2013 Big East Championships for the second time in five years Saturday at the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course in Somers, Wis., about forty minutes from campus.

The meet begins at 11 a.m. with the men’s 8K race, followed by the women’s 6K race at 11:50 a.m.

“This year is especially special because this is the first championship of the newly realigned Big East,” coach Mike Nelson said.

“Being really close gives us a good opportunity to stay fresh and run well,” redshirt sophomore Blake Lawson said.

The women’s side is in arguably the best conference in the nation, with three of the top seven programs in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Coaches Poll, including No. 3 Georgetown, No. 4 Providence and No. 7 Butler, with Villanova also receiving votes. With such a talented field, the race will certainly be the most competitive of the season so far for Marquette.

Nelson said he believes the Golden Eagles will be near the front, and that the Big East is “absolutely loaded … we know who our main competition will be. We think it’s Xavier, so it’ll be a battle between us and them.”

The men’s quality field includes 19th ranked Providence and 26th ranked Villanova, with Butler receiving votes. Nelson said he thinks Marquette should be close behind these top three teams and said the team is “looking for a top five finish on the men’s side.”

Finishing better than seventh would be the best Big East finish ever for the men’s team.

Other benefits come with hosting the meet, including familiarity with the course and more spectators cheering the teams on.

“To me, I consider it to be my home course, so you know the ups and downs of the course,” said freshman Brittney Feivor, who is a Kenosha Tremper High School graduate.

Feivor is confident in her and her teammates’ abilities, and is hopeful for a top four finish in the stacked field. With all the anticipation and excitement leading up to the meet, “getting in the top four would be icing on the cake.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams will be sending twelve runners to the Big East championships. The field for the women’s will include every Big East school, whereas the men’s side will include every school in the conference except St. John’s.

Story by Ryan Patterson
Special to the Tribune