The men’s and women’s cross country teams will face their first real tests of the year this weekend when they travel to Lawrence, Kan., to run in the Rim Rock Farm Classic.
IU Coach Ron Helmer will get his first look at a full strength men’s team with seniors Andy Bayer and Zach Mayhew in the mix as they both get their first competition action of the season.
“I tend to be more optimistic than I should be, but I’m also realistic so I know we have the potential to take a couple low numbers with Andy and Zack,” Helmer said.
Bayer and Mayhew are the only two members returning from last year’s top seven.
The rest of the team has stepped up to give the Hoosier men a deep and competitive squad, Helmer said.
Indiana Intercollegiate winner sophomore Evan Esselink will try to contend with the top runners, while teammates junior Robby Nierman, sophomore JR Ricker and senior Nate Morrow will all contend for the coveted spots in the top five.
The Hoosier women also come into this meet with two wins under their belt, yet they go into the meet with many questions, Helmer said.
With senior Samantha Ginther out with an injury, the rest of the women will look to make a statement.
Sophomore Kelsey Duerksen won the first two meets of the season, with a season-best time of 17:51 in the last meet.
Senior Caitlin Engel, graduate student Molly Hirt, sophomore Molly Winters and junior Erica Ridderman will run behind Duerkson.
“We just need to get into that competitive environment, and we’ll see where we go from there,” Ridderman said.