The University of Dayton men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to South Bend, Ind., today for the National Catholic Cross Country Invitational hosted by the University of Notre Dame.
The 33rd annual NCCCI welcomes teams from Catholic institutions from around the country. This meet is one of the nation’s largest and oldest intercollegiate cross country meets. The men’s race has been run every year since 1980 and since 1984 for the women’s race.
The women’s team hopes to finish in first-place this year after placing second to the Notre Dame in 2011, scoring with 61 points. The Flyers will return two of its top five from last year’s NCCCI. Junior Lizzie Gleason placed 10th overall with a time of 17:43 and junior Nicole Cargill ran in 18:15 to place 18th at the meet.
“We have been working a lot harder in practice the past two weeks and also increasing our intensity during workouts,” said Cargill. “Our weight lifting workouts have also been increased.”
On Sept. 1, both the men’s and women’s teams had their opening races of the 2012 season at the Flyer 5K. The women’s team placed third in the event, with Cargill leading the way with a ninth place finish with a time of 18:52. She was closely followed by freshman Olivia Albers who came in second for the Flyers placing 17th place overall in 19:11. She was trailed by junior Sarah Reynolds in 18th place at 19:25, senior Marisa Slomski in 20th place at 19:43 and sophomore Mary List who ran a time of 19:50 placing 21st.
“The team is preparing for this meet by learning how to run as a team,” said Slomski. “We really want to focus on pack running and using one another to push each other along in a race. Running alongside another teammate can be so much more powerful than running against a person on a different team.”
Reynolds confirmed Cargill’s preparations the women’s team was making in order to train for the NCCCI.
“Coach Haveman has been focusing on us using each other more during races so we can help bring each other up into a pack to race in the front,” Reynolds said.
The men’s team also is planning on having a strong repeat finish like in last year’s NCCCI. The Flyers placed third out of 31 teams scoring 118 points. Redshirt senior Greg Roeth paced the Flyers with a third place finish with a time of 24:39. Senior Kyle Lowry finished eighth with a time of 24:53.
“The team has been adapting well to the mileage increase,” said junior Doug Norris, describing the difference between the length of this race from the team’s first one. “There’s a lot more intensity in our workouts as we prepare for a quality competition in Notre Dame and Marquette (University). The goal is to run our Flyer 5K times in the first 5K and finish harder in the last 3K of the race. We train for longer distances so I think the change will be in our favor.”
At the Flyer 5K race, Roeth placed third with a time of 15:25, leading the Flyers to a third place finish. Roeth was closely followed by fellow teammate Lowry, who finished fifth with a time of 15:33. Junior Eric Gruenbacher placed 13th in 15:46, senior Jeremy Schiele finished 14th in 15:46 and freshman Ryan Polman ran a time of 15:48, placing 16th at the meet.
“After the Flyer 5K, the team and I see National Catholic really as a three-way race between Dayton, Marquette and Notre Dame,” said Norris. “All three teams are looking strong so it should be a great race between us.”