The Maroons look to continue excelling on the cross country trails this Saturday, as they compete in the NCAA Midwest Regionals. The competition will be held at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, where hundreds of the nation’s best runners will compete their hardest and go for gold.
The teams look to improve on their last competition at the UAA Championship in Atlanta, GA, on October 29. The men placed sixth out of eight teams, and the women placed a very close and impressive second out of eight teams. The women’s team looks to return to glory at this event, as the team won it in 2013, and knock off defending champions Wash U, who had won it the previous two years with scores of 68 and 62. Further, the Bears took first at the UAA Championship this past weekend, creating an even bigger target and increasing motivation for the Maroons.
Certainly, third-years Khia Kurtenbach and Kelsey Dunn look to continue to lead their team this weekend, as they placed second and 12th at the UAA Championship, with times of 21:47.29 and 22:23.74 respectively. These impressive runs have surely inspired other members of the team, as first-year Taylor Campos is confident in her team’s chances to win this weekend, given its past successes.
“Coming [in] second confirmed that we have built up the strength and speed over the long season necessary to perform during postseason meets,” Campos said. “I think it was a huge confidence booster to see how all of us could be in a competitive position during conference, so going into regionals, we will have the mindset of ‘just do what we've been doing all along.’ Also, we had some really solid workouts since conference, so I think we will be even sharper for regionals on Saturday.”
Despite placing sixth last time out, the men’s cross country team is also excited to compete this weekend. Fourth-years Timofey Karginov and Nick Nielsen led the way during the last meet, placing seventh and 25th overall, with times of 25:04.87 and 25:30.96, respectively. Other team members weren’t far behind, showing the strength and depth of this team. The team comes in to challenge University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, who won last year’s meet with a score of 54. The men have never won this event, but have worked hard this year during training, so their chances and spirits are as high as ever. First-year Andrew Kates was particularly pleased with his team’s efforts two weeks ago and hopes to find even more success this weekend.
“It was very exciting for us to travel to Atlanta for the UAA Championship,” Kates said. “We did a good job of running as a pack and performed well given how competitive the race was. We see that meet as a springboard for us coming in to the regional meet this weekend. The training we have done all season has prepared us to prove ourselves as one of the top teams in our region, and we are confident that our best performance is yet to come.”
The women’s 6K race begins at 11 a.m., and the men’s 8K will follow at noon.