Pre-NCAA meet for men and women this weekend

C.J. Spang

For the ninth-ranked Minnesota women’s cross country team, Saturday’s Pre-NCAA meet in Terre Haute, Ind., will be a big building block in preparing for the Big Ten Championship and the NCAA Regionals.

“I think we’re all really excited to go in there and see what we can do,” senior Jen Hess said. “We want to go and actually see where we stand, on the national level with the top teams.”

The meet takes place on the course where the NCAA championships will be Nov. 21.

“Seeing the course, that’s the biggest thing,” coach Gary Wilson said. “The more information that you’ve got, the better prepared you’ll be.”

While the Gophers will be able to gauge their ability on the national stage, more importantly, they will gain valuable information on their Big Ten competition.

The meet is divided into three races, and Minnesota competes in the first race, while Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois will run in the second.

This will allow both players and coaches to learn their race strategies, times and running style.

“I can learn a ton by watching and (our runners) can learn a ton watching, even more than running,” Wilson said. “When you’re running, you’re looking at other runners and worrying about your race.”

Men’s team travels to La Crosse, Wis.

The 20th-ranked Minnesota men’s cross country team will be running in the Jim Drews Invitational on Saturday in La Crosse, Wis.

While it may not have the same prestige as the Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, this race is crucial to the men’s

season.

“After the Griak Invitational, we want a little bit of a training block in there,” coach Steve Plasencia. “It’s a good way to segue into the championship part of the season.”