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Sunday, Dec. 10
The Indiana Daily Student

sports cross-country

Hoosiers attempt to qualify for nationals

The IU men’s and women’s cross country teams look to qualify for nationals this Friday in Madison, Wis., in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. Teams from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio will compete in the men’s 10K race and the women’s 6K.

The top two teams from the regional competition automatically qualify for nationals, and 13 teams from around the nation are selected at-large. Additionally, the top four individuals not on a qualifying team go.

The men’s team finished second at the regional meet last year, and then-junior Samantha Ginther qualified as an individual for the women.

The Hoosier men are coming off a third-place finish at the Big Ten Championship meet two weekends ago. Senior Zach Mayhew won the event as an individual, and senior Andy Bayer placed fourth overall.

“Zach will perform well this weekend,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said. “He and Andy will go right to that front pack like they have been, settle in and get small numbers.”

This is the first time the men run a 10K at the regional meet, and Helmer said because of that, strategy will play a big role in the race.

“The NCAA Finals are a week from Saturday, and that’s only eight days rest from regionals,” Helmer said. “So what we really want to do is as much as possible, with as little as we need to get qualified. We want to come out of this healthy and fit and able to recover.”

After Mayhew and Bayer, the Hoosier lineup thins out. Of the third through seventh runners for IU, none finished in the top 20 at the Big Ten Championships.

Helmer said he is looking for improvement on the back end of his lineup.

“They need to execute the race plan,” Helmer said. “They need to have enough discipline so that they expend their energy appropriately and have three, four or five guys charging at the end.”

Ginther will look to lead her team into a qualifying spot this year.

“They need to trust themselves and go ahead and take advantage of the work and fitness that they’ve accomplished,” Helmer said of the women. “They can go in and represent themselves really well. The problem is they need to give themselves a chance.”

For both teams, the ultimate goal this weekend is to qualify for the national meet.

“We just need to get through,” Helmer said. “I don’t care if we win the regional or not, we just need to advance and come out healthy.”

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