The IU’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams will face their first big challenges of the season this weekend as they compete at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wisc.
This meet will be the first of the year that all of the top runners from the IU team will compete, including senior Sarah Pease for the women and junior Andrew Poore for the men. The field will include eight Big Ten teams in the men’s race and six Big Ten teams in the women’s race.
IU coach Ron Helmer said the meet will give his team its first chance to flex its muscles and test how it stacks up against some of the nation’s best teams.
“It can be a reality check where the reality might be something that we can be excited about or the reality might be that we are not quite as good as we are hoping to be,” Helmer said. “If they run with some relaxation and composure, I think the results will be something exciting enough to keep us motivated — to keep working at the high level that we have been working at.”
The adidas Invitational may serve as a preview for the Big Ten Championships since the University of Wisconsin will host the championship meet on the same course Oct. 31.
Sophomore Zach Mayhew said being familiar with a course can give a runner a huge advantage, one which will help later in October.
“If you already know the course going into it, that’s just one more little thing that you don’t have to worry about, which relaxes you,” Mayhew said. “Knowing all of the little nooks and crannies of the course will help us a lot for Big Ten’s, but this week we are looking to put ourselves out there and to let people know that we are good enough to compete with some of these bigger teams.”