TERRE HAUTE, IND. – Indiana State returns to cross country competition on Friday as the Sycamores host the annual Indiana Intercollegiate competition which will be held on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. The annual event is open to all Indiana colleges and universities in the scored competition.
Competition begins at 3:30 p.m. (ET) with the open race which will have the men’s 8,000 meters and women’s 5,000 meters running at the same time. The team races will follow with the women’s 5,000 meter race at 4:30 p.m. (ET) and the men’s 8,000 meter race at 5:15 p.m. (ET). An awards presentation will be held following the men’s team race.
The Indiana State men opened with a victory at the Bradley Open last Friday led by the first place finish of Dustin Betz who was named the MVC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week for his effort. John Mascari came in second with Albaro Escalera third.
“This will be a pretty typical intercollegiate,” John McNichols, Indiana State men’s cross country coach, said. “It is early enough that teams do not necessarily have to put their whole team out for a variety of reasons. The race should be pretty wide open.”
McNichols expects Indiana to be good again along with a young Purdue team that has some good runners. IUPUI is a program on the rise and Southern Indiana always fields a very competitive team.
“We had a good opener but have had some kids sick so will just have to see how everybody holds out,” McNichols said.
The Sycamore women were third at Bradley against a field that had three teams ranked in the top 15 of the Midwest Region.
“I expect the race Friday to be very competitive,” John Gartland, Indiana State women’s cross country coach, said. “Indiana is ranked sixth in our region and stands a very good chance to be a national qualifier because many think that six teams will go from the Great Lakes Region. Purdue looks to be improved and won two weeks ago at Valparaiso.”
Gartland has been very pleased with the effort of his top four runners who ran well at Bradley last week and have trained well this week.
“These are the young women I thought would be our fifth, sixth, and seventh runners at this point in the season,” Gartland said. “We do have a number of runners who could step up including Leeann Michl and Amy Hicks. Our women are taking this adversity as a challenge and I believe they will run well.”
Several regionally and nationally ranked teams will be in the competition on Friday which should make for a very interesting event.
On the Division I side, the Indiana Hoosier men’s team had their streak of three straight Indiana Intercollegiate titles stopped by the Purdue Boilermakers a year ago but are favored to regain that championship as they are ranked 13th nationally and second in the Great Lakes Region. Butler is ranked seventh in the Great Lakes Region with Indiana State 11th and Purdue 12th. The Indiana women’s team won their third straight title a year ago and is unranked in the national poll so far this season. The Hoosiers are ranked sixth in the Great Lakes Region with Butler seventh, Purdue 10th, and Indiana State 12th.
The men and women of the University of Southern Indiana top the list of Division II schools in the competition with the Eagles ranked seventh in the national men’s poll and the women ranked 26th. The men are also ranked second in the Midwest Region with the women fifth.
Two nationally ranked men’s team from Division III will be on hand Friday including 17th ranked Wabash and 34th ranked Manchester. Wabash is also ranked second in the Division III Great Lakes Region with the DePauw Tigers 10th. DePauw’s women’s team is also ranked in the Great Lakes Region as they enter Friday’s competition seventh in the region.
Two NAIA nationally ranked women’s team will also be competing with Huntington 23rd in the NAIA preseason poll and Taylor 27th.