Indiana cross country next competes in the Joe Piane Invitational Friday in South Bend, Indiana. The Indiana women’s team runs in the 5K race at 10:30 a.m. and the Indiana men run in the 5-mile race at 11:15 a.m.
The meet is the Hoosiers’ third of the season, after traveling to Terre Haute, Indiana, for the John McNichols Invitational on Sept. 18 and hosting the Indiana Open on Sept. 4 in Bloomington.
Before Indiana takes to the course, here are three things to know about the meet.
Top runners set to open season
Indiana will be running both teams at full strength for the first time this season. In meets earlier this season, Indiana withheld its top men’s and women’s runners. Prior to those meets, head coach Ron Helmer said he wanted to give some younger runners a chance to compete.
On the women’s side, senior Sarah Schmitt will make her season debut after finishing 10th at the Big Ten Championships and running in the NCAA D1 National Championships last season.
Seniors Hannah Stoffel and Bailey Hertenstein, who ran on the Indiana team in the NCAA Championships, begin their seasons Friday. Hertenstein was the best finisher on the team in last year’s NCAA Championships, placing 28th and becoming an All-American for a second time.
On the men’s side, seniors Skyler Stidam and Ben Veatch will make their season debuts.
Veatch finished eighth and Stidam came 13th in the Big Ten Championships last season, with both being selected to the All-Big Ten Second Team. Carlos Vilches Ortiz, a freshman from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, will race for Indiana for the first time Friday.
Indiana will face its toughest competition so far this season in the Joe Piane Invitational. The women’s team will compete with 24 other schools and the men’s team will go against 22.
In the women’s race Friday, 12 of the teams competing are ranked in the national coaches’ poll with Indiana at No. 21. The highest-ranked team is North Carolina State University, who is tied for No. 1 in the nation. Four other teams ranked in the top 10 of the poll will be competing against Indiana in South Bend.
Indiana will enter the men’s race ranked No. 26 in the country, one of 10 in the race who are ranked. Two teams in the men’s race are ranked in the top 10 in the country, including No. 2 Notre Dame University.
Among the teams competing in South Bend, Purdue is the only one Indiana has run against already this season.
Purdue men’s and women’s teams finished first in their races at the John McNichols Invitational, while both Indiana teams placed second. Unlike Indiana, Purdue was running both its teams at full strength in that meet.
The Hoosiers will have another chance against their rival Friday with both teams planning to run at full strength. The Boilermaker men are tied for No. 30 in the national rankings while the women are unranked.