IU cross-country split up this weekend for the Adidas Invitational and the Pre-Nationals meet.
The team made another step forward at each event, IU Coach Ron Helmer said.
The Adidas Invitational is one of the premier meets of the year. Helmer said it was comparable to the NCAA Championship meet. With six runners competing from each team, the IU men finished 16th out of 36 teams, while the IU women finished 22nd.
The men’s race had 15 nationally-ranked teams and IU finished ahead of six of them, edging out Big Ten rival No. 11 Wisconsin and also No. 4 Stanford.
“We didn’t have a great race, but we still were able to beat some top-level competition even when we had an ordinary day,” Helmer said.
Helmer mentioned that redshirt senior Rorey Hunter had a great race for the Hoosiers. Hunter was the team’s top finisher at 31st place with a time of 24:01.9.
Redshirt junior Amanda Behnke was IU’s top finisher, placing 47th with a time of 20:28.7.
The women’s field was especially strong as it included 20 nationally-ranked teams. The Hoosiers were able to beat two of them; No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 20 West Virginia. Helmer said the freshmen girls struggled with the higher level of completion and hurt their team’s finish.
“Even though both the men and women’s teams were ordinary, we beat some really good teams,” Helmer said. “That’s going to help motivate us.”
The other half of IU runners traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for the Pre-Nationals meet Saturday.
The men finished 12th and the women finished 10th.
“We were looking to come out of this meet with some help for our top runners, and I think Carl Smith can really help us out,” Helmer said.
Smith, a redshirt junior, finished 22nd overall at Pre-Nationals with a time of 24:35.8, and Helmer said he could have actually been 10 to 15 seconds faster.
Freshman Katherine Receveur was the women’s team top finisher at Pre-Nationals with a time of 21:28.1, giving her 29th place. Helmer said he was especially impressed with her performance as a true freshman.
“The depth we showed this weekend is some of the best depth we have ever had as a program,” Helmer said. “We can get the runners who ran at Pre-Nationals to push the quality of the group that ran at the Adidas Invitational.”
The Hoosiers said they are using these two meets to get ready for the Big Ten Championships in two weeks.
“We absolutely took a step forward this weekend,” Helmer said. “If we didn’t have anyone run at a high level, I would have been disappointed. But we did have strong performances from some top runners.”
Helmer added that IU’s top runners are starting to stand out from the pack and are starting to lead.
“Could we have made a bigger statement this weekend?” Helmer said. “Yes, we could have, but we have a lot to build on.”