Josh Rohatinsky hopes to find success at the Pre-National meet. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU men's and women's cross country teams will prepare to face serious competition as they travel to Terre Haute, Ind. and race in the Pre-National meet on Saturday.
"We're hoping to do very well," said men's head coach Ed Eyestone.
The Pre-National meet will host close to 80 teams from around the country. The teams will be evenly divided into either the Blue or White race, depending on their rankings in this week's national polls.
"We'll have to compete against close to 40 teams," said women's head coach Patrick Shane. "We won't be running against all the top teams, like I would prefer, but the half we'll run against will be pretty tough. This will be the most competitive meet we've run in so far."
All-American Kassi Andersen, along with Breanne Sandberg, Amy Fowler and Amber Duffin, will lead the No. 6 ranked women's team.
"I'm looking forward to this," said Shane. "This will be the first time we're lining all of our top five up on the same day. Kassi has been our leader all year long and we also have some good middle depth in the other three girls."
Traditionally the team has not performed as well at Pre-Nationals as they would have liked to. Last year the women had a fourth place tie with North Carolina State. This year Shane hopes to leave that tradition behind.
"I would anticipate us having a good race," he said.
The No. 9 men's traveling team will consist of its top 12 runners, except for Dan Hinckley who is suffering from injury.
After spending the last two weeks training and holding workouts, the team is ready for competition. Josh Rohatinsky will lead the Cougars, along with junior Chandler Goodwin.
"We will take a good group and this will help us define our top nine guys," said Eyestone. "Early season meets are just that. The last meet at Oregon was the first of any significance."
Because the meet has been held at this same course for the past few years, most of the runners are already familiar with it, but running with a crowd of about 250 takes some getting used to.
"Besides Josh and Chandler, the guys need to find each other and run as a pack," said Eyestone. "We need to try and close the gap between our first and second runner, and third through seventh. The pack of five needs to get closer to Chandler, and Chandler needs to get closer to Josh."