After a strong start at the Indiana Open, the Hoosiers compete Friday in the Indiana Intercollegiates at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The meet features every cross-country programs in the state, no matter their NCAA affiliation, conference or size.
“We are better than everyone else,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said of his team’s history of success at the Indiana Intercollegiates, and that’s why he said he’s betting on his team to win again this year.
The men’s team comes into the meet ranked 10th in the nation, after rising in this week’s polls from No. 11. The men’s team has won the Indiana Intercollegiates the last three years, and they’ve taken six out of the last seven.
Helmer said he believes Skeete, who finished first at the Indiana Open, will have another strong race.
“Honestly, we just want to win the team title and keep it like we have the past three years,” Skeete said.
Skeete said the return of redshirt senior Rorey Hunter will also be a boost for the team.
The women’s team has also dominated this meet in years past, winning the meet in each of the last six seasons. Redshirt junior Amanda Behnke looks to repeat after winning the individual championship for the women’s race last year.
Johnson, the Indiana Open champion for the women, is also looking good and should lead the way Friday, Helmer said.
Helmer said Friday’s race isn’t strictly about individuals, but more about team growth.
“We need to practice running as a team,” Helmer said. “We are good enough and deep enough that we can pack nine people together in that varsity race and position ourselves well before the race starts to break out.”
He said he is trying to develop a team racing strategy that helps keep the lower runners relaxed and engaged.
“The number four or five runners are what really make your team,” Helmer said. “And that type of team is the type that has success at high-level meets.”
The women’s 5K Open starts at 3:15 p.m. and is followed by the men’s 8K Open at 4 p.m. The women’s 5K Championships begin at 4:45 p.m., and the Men’s 8K Championships follow at 5:30 p.m.
In each championship race, nine runners from each school can compete. The other runners from the school will run in the Open race.
IU is competing in the Big State Division, which has all the Division I teams in the state. The Little State Division has all the non-Division I teams that are running.
“Every time we put on that jersey and run as a team, we are going to try to beat as many people as we can,” Helmer said.