IU-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana State and post-collegiate club runners will compete in the meet. For the Hoosiers, the only runners competing are those who are not running in next week’s NCAA Regional meet. Eight men are running the race for IU, and six women are running.
IU Coach Ron Helmer called the race an opportunity to bring the cross-country season to a close for this group of runners.
“What we need is a season-culminating meet for those runners who aren’t in our championship group moving forward,” Helmer said. “Everybody is training hard, and their training cycles have prepared them to be at their best and to have a good effort. It is a great way for them to evaluate their fitness and the progress they have made as they springboard into indoor season.”
While the Hoosier Invitational is not a significant meet nationally, for the runners it is still an important meet.
“It will be good just to get out there one last time and be ready for indoor season,” redshirt freshman Bobby Browning said.
Browning said he hopes running well will help give confidence to the rest of the team competing at Regionals.
“We are working on staying together and running relaxed,” Browning said. “It’s a smaller meet, so we are just trying to pack up and use each other as best we can.”
Browning said he and the team want to win the meet because it’s on their home course.
Helmer said he has high expectations for the race as well, as he expects three or four men and women to run well and possibly run the best races of their lives.
“More than anything, these kids have done a good job of becoming a team watching each other and our progress,” Helmer said. “For those going to Regionals to come out and see their teammates really put forth an effort and validate their hard work will be positive for everyone.”
Junior Olivia Hippensteel echoed Browning’s thoughts on why the meet is important, hoping for the same result on the women’s side and looking for momentum into the indoor track and field season.
“Basically, it’s just a good way to end the season and get on the course one more time and start off the indoor track season with a good race,” Hippensteel said. “We still have been training like the girls going to Regionals.”
Hippensteel said the race could be used as encouragement for next year’s cross-country season.
“They just need to finish off this cross-country season on a very positive note and feel really good about the progress that they have made and repeat that cycle indoors for track,” Helmer said.