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Creighton Cross Country Teams Gear Up for Conference Meet

The men’s and women’s cross country teams head to Normal, Illinois for the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championship meet.   Runner can expect cooler than normal weather as they step up to the starting line.

The last meet the Bluejays ran in was the Bradley Classic in Peoria, IL on October 12 giving the teams two weeks to rest up and prepare for the conference meet.  The first week after that meet coincided with Fall Break at Creighton which allowed the runners to shift their focus from the classroom and narrow their scope to resting and running.

“They ran, ate and slept head coach Chas Davis said.  We mixed in a couple key workouts to simulate a very fast start and end to the MVC Championship race, while finding a focused, controlled rhythm in between, and another workout to practice race pace/intensity over long intervals on a true cross country race.  Otherwise, just stayed low key and stuck to our usual routine.”

According to the pre-championship polls, not a lot has changed from the preseason polls for both the men and women.

Men’s Pre-Championship Poll (Preseason ranking)
1) Indiana State (previously #2)
2) Southern Illinois (1)
3) Wichita State (4)
4) Drake (3)
5) UNI (7)
6) Bradley (6)
7) Illinois State (5)
8) Evansville (8)
9) Creighton (9)

* Missouri State does not field a men’s team

Women’s Pre-Championship Poll (Preseason ranking)
1) Illinois State (previously #1)
2) Wichita State (3)
T3) Bradley (2)
Southern Illinois (4)
5) Indiana State (T5)
6) UNI (7)
7) Drake (8)
8) Missouri State (T5)
9) Evansville (9)
10) Creighton (10)

Today’s meet will be the last conference meet for two senior men, Mike Hitt and Tom Shimp.  Hitt is coming off a strong performance at the Bradley Classic.  Hitt paced the men’s team finishing 42nd to lead the team in a time of 25:40 over the 8K race.  Both Hitt and Shimp have also been leading the underclassmen.

“Mike and Tom have given our young guys perspective on how far we’ve come and where we are capable of going and what it takes to get there Davis explained.  They’ve helped our underclassmen navigate what they’re up against and helped them rise to the challenge – leaving a legacy that will help us continue to develop into the coming years.”

For the women, they were lead by sophomore Courtney Sawle at the Bradley Classic where she placed 49th in a time of 22:14 for the 5K race.  That meet followed a top 10 finish at the Charles Bowles Invitation in Salem, OR, a race with over 200 runners.  Sawle has a great opportunity to improve on her finish last season in the MVC meet and run with some of the top runners in the conference.

“I think top half (usually top 35 or so) is definitely within reach and says you’ve reached the level that you’re really “in” the Championship Race.  If everything falls into place, I can see her finishing top 25 – 30 Davis explained.  She keeps doing what she’s been doing, she can beat some very talented women up there.

It’s been a long season for the runners and like any sport, there will be nagging injuries.  Sophomore Tin Nguyen will be out because of a knee injury.  For the women, freshmen Anna Weirick will miss the race as well.  With two weeks until the NCAA Regional meet, there is one more chance in which they could run.

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