The national meet is quickly approaching, but first, the cross country teams must focus on qualifying.
That’s where the NCAA Regional comes in.
Hoosier men and women’s cross country teams will look to qualify Saturday at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Toledo, Ohio.
The men said they are confident they will make a return to Nationals. They need to finish in the top two of their 10k for an automatic bid but can also qualify based on their at-large points if they don’t finish first or second.
Junior Zach Mayhew, who finished 24th in last year’s Regional, said he was aiming for a top-15 finish. However, he won’t go too hard if it puts him at risk of overtaxing his body nine days before the big race.
“We’re going to take it easy but make sure we get the qualification for nationals,” Mayhew said. “There’s something to be said about having a good race because that sets you up well for next week confidence-wise, but the most important part is to feel good coming out of this race. We don’t want to overdo it.”
The women, on the other hand, will have a harder time qualifying in the 6k based on the season they have had.
“They just need to put what’s happened behind them and trust that their fitness is good,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said. “To think that (the women) are going to qualify for the national meet would be a huge stretch, but they still need to finish off this season positively, and I think they’re ready to do that.”