The cross teams open the season in traditional fashion at the Creighton/UNO Invite at Chili Greens (68th and Spring). The women’s 5K race begins at 10:00 AM and the men’s 8K race is to follow around 10:45 AM.
After the first few weeks of practice, the Bluejays will face their first competition of the season. Davis is encouraged by what he has seen in practice so far.
More than the workouts, more than the miles, it’s the energy and camaraderie that our 13 new freshmen have injected into a team dynamic with a group of returners that came ready to lead and set the example. They know they have a tough task in front of them, but are excited to be at practice and running every day. The feeling that “we’re all in this together” makes a huge difference when it comes to the sacrifices that come with this sport at this level.
On the men’s side, the Bluejays return six runners including seniors Mike Hitt and Tom Shimp. Hitt, who finished 52nd at last year’s MVC Championships, is the leading returner from that team that finished 9th. The preseason poll has the Jays selected 9th this season (out of 9 teams).
For the women, they return everyone from last year’s team that finished 10th at the MVC Championship. Sophomores Meghan Barry and Courtney Sawle are the top to finishers from that meet in which the Jays finished 10th. The preseason poll has the women selected 10th this season just behind Evansville.
As Davis indicates, the top returners have been leading the way in practice but the freshmen aren’t too far behind.
It was great to see our likely top two on both sides come back fit and ready to lead the team. Mike Hitt and Drew Prescott have been working well together in practice, and (Garret) Kenyon is letting them know he’s right there with them. Courtney Sawle and Meghan Barry don’t appear to believe in a sophomore slump! Tin Nguyen on the men’s side put in some serious work over the summer and it has shown in some very smooth workouts. It’ll make a big difference if he can translate that to an 8k as a sophomore. With some more training partners in practice now, I would expect Meagan Wilderson and Jess Johnson to make a jump as well.
Just a few weeks into practice, it is too early to tell if there are any runners that can make a big leap this season.
Every year we have a surprise on each side that I’m not seeing in August…looking forward to seeing who that is this year.
A few weeks into practice and the injury bug is making its way around the team already. According to Davis, freshmen Jessica Diaz and Chris Kokotajlo will miss this race. In addition to those two, freshman Garret Kenyon may also sit out this race.
A warm day is expected on Saturday with temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees for the morning races. As Davis says, the high temperatures expected today should be nothing new to what his runners faced this summer.
The experience running through this past summer’s heat gave them and be ready to hurt. There’s really no way around it, especially as hot as we’re expecting it. It’ll probably affect the pace at which the race is drawn out at.