Cougar Runners Ready For Pre-Nationals

Chelsea Smith McKell will lead the Cogars on Saturday as they look to make a strong stand at Pre-Nationals. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- Both the men's and women's teams are heading to Terra Haute, Ind., to face some tough competition as they race in the Pre-National meet on Saturday, Oct. 15.

"I'm excited about the chance to run," men's head coach Ed Eyestone said. "It's been a couple of weeks since we've had the chance to roll."

Pre-Nationals will host several top-25 schools giving both teams the opportunity to face, and see how they match up with the nation's best. The No. 4 ranked women will face, Stanford (3), Notre Dame (8), North Carolina State (9), Minnesota (10), Columbia (13), Georgetown (19), Butler (21), Virginia (22) and Northern Arizona (24).

The No. 4 ranked men will race against, Stanford (5), Cal Poly-SLO (10), Georgetown (12), Florida State (17), Ohio State (18), Indiana (21), Dartmouth (22) and North Carolina State (23).

This weekend also gives the teams the opportunity to race the course the National Championship will be run on. Women's head coach Patrick Shane said this is one of the reasons this race is important.

"It is important to run well in this meet because you want to have a positive experience and feel like you've done well, because we have to go back and run it again in November at the National Championships," he said.

Shane said the women's team will run at full strength this weekend being led by Chelsea Smith McKell, who is looking to pick up her third win of the season, and 2004 MWC Freshman of the year, Heidi Magill. He said the team has been training really well and they will be ready to go.

"So far, this season has been about hard work," he said. "We've been trying to put as much hay in the barn as we can, while we can. We've been tired. However, this weekend things are different. We will be more rested than we've been before."

On the men's side, Eyestone said he is pleased with his team's preparation and performance in previous meets, as well as their health. He said none of his top guys are nursing injuries coming into the meet and that is a plus.

Eyestone also said it will be a good opportunity to get the team set up for the rest of the season.

"It's going to be a good opportunity for us to close that gap between our No. 1 guy and our second and third guys, and our second and third guys between our fourth, fifth and sixth guys," he said. "Our other goal this weekend is to decide the nine guys that will travel in two weeks to the MWC Championship. We've got 12 potential guys, and I like to have them settle things on the field."