The Hoosiers will be busy this weekend, racing twice in three days.
Both men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in the adidas Invitational on Friday in Madison, Wis., and then again in the Pre-Nationals on Sunday in Terre Haute, Ind., the site of this year’s NCAA Championships.
“There are still big steps that we can take,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said. “We have to be able to go into the last part of the season with confidence, relaxation and composure.”
The women will run a 6K in both races, while the men will run an 8K. Every runner will race this weekend, but each runner will only participate in one of the meets, Helmer said. This weekend will give 10 men and women a chance to score and gain experience racing under pressure.
“I’m really excited for this weekend,” junior Caitlin Engel said. “If we can get out there and run in a pack, we are definitely more successful. Running together makes it feel a lot easier, like we’re just going for a run rather than actually doing work.”
Helmer emphasized that while neither race is necessarily more important than the other, the teams’ performances this weekend are essential to readying themselves for the schedule’s home stretch.
“This can’t be one of those weekends where we get knocked on our butt and question ourselves,” Helmer said. “Nor does it need to be one of those weekends where we just go right to the front and prove to everyone that we’re this incredible cross country team.
“It just needs to be a good, solid effort so that when we all come together and line up nine people at the Big Ten meet, we have a chance to know that we’re going to be better.”