This past Friday, the Indiana cross country team traveled to Madison, Wis., to compete in the Great Lakes Regional Meet.
The Hoosiers were able to qualify both the men’s and women’s teams to the NCAA Championships.
“In my mind, the purpose of the Regional is to do what it takes to get the job done,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said. “Both our men and women did that, and we’ll take that.”
The men placed fourth Friday, making it their fourth consecutive year in a row qualifying for the national race. Junior Evan Esselink crossed the line first for the Hoosiers and placed 11th overall. The women placed sixth, allowing them to qualify for the first time since 2009. Senior Samantha Ginther finished first for the Hoosiers, placing 10th overall.
“I felt like the men ran extremely controlled and extremely well,” Helmer said. “On the women’s side, we aren’t as deep and as strong as I wish we were, but we were still able to get a high enough bid.”
There will be a total of 31 teams that will be competing in the NCAA Championships.
The other Big Ten teams who qualified for the men are No. 16 Michigan and No. 19 Wisconsin.
Five other Big Ten schools qualified on the women’s side. No. 6 ranked Michigan State, No. 14 Michigan, No. 16 Minnesota, Wisconsin and Penn State all received national meet bids coming out of the Big Ten.
Now that the Regional race is behind them, the Hoosiers will focus on the NCAA Championships.
The race will be in Terre Haute, and the time is yet to be determined.
Helmer said he is optimistic about the men’s chances of doing well. However, he is not as confident in the women’s team.
“On the men’s side, we’ve got the type of team that can do very well,” Helmer said. “On the women’s side, we have to work really hard just to keep from getting embarrassed.”
Follow cross country reporter Frank Bonner on Twitter @Frank_Bonner1.