One week after the Commodore Class, the Hoosiers ran just six men and four women at the John McNichols Invitational.
The meet hosted by Indiana State University in Terre Haute will be the course for the NCAA National Championships in November. While IU’s top runners will get a good look at the course next month during Pre-Nationals, the McNichols meet offered an opportunity for some younger runners.
Freshman Keelan Grant led the Hoosiers on the men’s side to finish a strong 28th out of 269 runners racing Saturday morning. With the IU men continuing to focus on running as a team, sophomores Dustin Horter and Ben Miller followed up Grant, placing 34th and 35th respectively.
While IU did not run any of its top six runners, a 5th-place finish showcased the impressive depth of the men’s roster. Defending national champion Northern Arizona University and No. 7 Stanford University placed 1st and 2nd in the meet, yet a Hoosier's “B” lineup was good enough for 5th place out of 21 schools.
The IU women had little depth to showcase, but a couple fledgling Hoosiers had decent performances. With just four runners racing, IU was led by freshman Ana Barrott who finished 67th. Sophomore Maddie Dalton finished 101st out of the 234 runners.
For the Hoosier women, the invitational offered a chance to grow. The young runners faced off with some elite competition such as No. 5 the University of Arkansas and No. 8 Stanford on a championship course. With a lack of depth for the women, IU may need runners such as Barrot and Dalton later on in the season.
IU will return its top lineup Oct. 4 for Notre Dame’s Joe Piane Invitational in South Bend. Until then, head coach Ron Helmer will continue to build his depth as race pressure and importance ramps up over the course of the fall.
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