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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports cross-country

IU cross country prepares for two meets this weekend

Members of the men's cross country team run up a hill during the Indiana Open on Sept. 5. Both the men's and women's teams won by large margins and allowed the runners to compete for the first time this season.

IU cross-country will be competing in two separate meets, the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Illinois, and the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Indiana, this weekend. It’s the first time the team will be split up in two meets this season and the first time its depth will be tested.

Both squads have yet to lose a meet this season, and while Colorado will be the only other ranked team present at the Bradley Classic, numerous ranked opponents will be present at the Pre-National Invitational.

IU Coach Ron Helmer said he is confident his athletes will show out but knows this weekend will be a big test for the Hoosiers.

“I’m looking forward to testing ourselves in some really high-level competition,” Helmer said. “We’ve won races against solid teams but not any who will be in the top 20 at the end of the year. We have to run as a pack in these type of big races, and we need to execute in a chaotic environment. This weekend we’ll find out if we’re for real this year.”

Helmer said the top seven runners from the men’s and women’s teams at the Rim Rock Farm Classic will compete at Pre-Nationals and the rest of the team will race at the Bradley Classic. He said the depth on the team is what they rely on the most, and this weekend is good for the young runners to progress in their training.

Big Ten Cross-Country Athlete of the week Jason Crist will headline the No. 13 IU team at Pre-Nationals and said winning the award is behind him. He’s just trying to prepare for this weekend and, hopefully, win big.

“We just need to run together and feed off of each other,” Crist said, “We want to work our way up throughout the race. I’m not really sure what we expect. We’re just going to go in there and do our best. It favors us to run in a bigger race because we have guys who push the front and like to run with faster runners.”

The IU men who will headline the Hoosier presence at the Bradley Classic are sophomores Joe Murphy, Bobby Browning, Kyle Burks and Jackson Bertoli; juniors Jordan Huntoon and Eric Claxton; and senior Carl Smith.

On the women’s side, freshmen Hannah Stoffel and Grace Walther and junior Corrine Cominator will headline IU’s squad at the Bradley Classic. Senior Olivia Hippensteel and sophomore Alex Warzyniak round out the top five. Warzyniak will be competing in her first meet in about a year.

Helmer gave an update on the status of senior Amanda Behnke’s injury and said he doesn’t expect her back at any point this season. At first IU was optimistic it might have Behnke back for the Big Ten Championships, but her recovery is taking longer than the team initially hoped.

The Bradley Classic will take place 2 p.m. Friday.

Pre-Nationals will be 11 a.m. Saturday and provide IU with an opportunity to crack the top ten nationally if it puts in a solid performance.

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