WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue men’s and women’s cross country teams get a sneak peak at the 2009 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship course on Saturday, traveling to archrival Indiana University for the Sam Bell Invitational. Both races will feature just four teams as the Purdue women enter the weekend ranked seventh in the region, while the Boilermaker men sit 14th in the regional standings.
The women’s race is scheduled to include Indiana University at Fort Wayne, the University of Houston (ranked ninth in the South Central region) and the host Hoosiers who are ranked two spots above the Boilermakers Great Lakes region. Indiana, ranked No. 3 team in the Great Lakes region, is the team to beat on the men’s side, while Houston’s men are 10th in the South Central region and nearby Wabash College throws their hat in the ring as well.
The Purdue women return their full roster to racing as seniors Kristin Phillips and Sarah Klaczysnki and freshmen Camille Buscomb and Alice Feslier Holmes will run their first 6K of the year. Phillips already has the No. 10 spot on the Boilermakers’ all-time top-10 6K list, running a time of 21:36.0 at the 2008 Big Ten Championships, while she and the rest of the group are on pace to earn better spots on the list in 2009.
Reigning Big Ten Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week Katie Conrad and fellow sophomores Stephanie Bonk and Kara Conflenti are fresh off impressive season debuts and career bests at 6K last weekend, and look to improve for the second straight race. Freshman Kelly McCurdy posted a solid career-opening 6K at Indiana State last Saturday as well, while fellow rookie Linsey Daluga is set for her first collegiate 6K.
Junior Caden Shields and sophomore Simon Rogers rejoin their teammates on the men’s side for the Boilermakers, continuing their pursuit for spots on the team’s all-time top-10 for 8K. Sophomores Charles White and Cale Allen led the Purdue men to their highest team showing of the season last weekend, finishing second and third individually, as the squad was second at the Gibson Family Invitational with 63 points.
Fellow sophomore Ladd Mercer and freshmen Robert Stewart, Stephen Schulz and Corey Scott look to continue their contributions as well, rounding out the list of Boilermaker runners for Saturday.
“Saturday is a great opportunity for our athletes to get some experience on the regional course,” said head coach Jack Warner. “We’ve already run on Indiana State’s course twice and didn’t see the need to return for Pre-Nationals, and it made more sense to stay close and get both teams a race at IU. Our men and women can get a feel for the course with just a few teams there, and set a tone for the regional meet next month.”
This weekend marks the final race before the championship cross country season as the Boilermakers will head to Penn State University in two weeks for the conference championship race. Results will be available at PurdueSports.com after the completion of the race.