Pre-NCAAs offers harriers new life

first_imgAfter a disappointing finish at the Paul Short Invitational two weeks ago, the women’s cross country team prepares to turn its season around at the Pre-NCAA Invitational this weekend in Terre Haute, Ind. The No. 2 University of Wisconsin men’s team will also be in attendance.The Badger women finished fourth in their last meet despite being the top-ranked team at the invitational, while the men placed second at the Bill Dellinger Invitational Sept. 29.”I was definitely disappointed with the finish,” women’s head coach Jim Stintzi said. “I don’t think it sets a very good indication of where we are.”Despite poor performance, there are plenty of positives to take from the race. “We kind of have a big race underneath our belts and know where we stand and what we need to correct,” Stintzi said. The team also got a much-needed wakeup call before the upcoming meet — no time is a good time to coast. For its struggles, the UW women fell from No. 5 to No. 26 in the national polls. The men, who were also slated to finish first at their last meet, fell from No. 1 to No. 2. According to Stintzi, however, the rankings don’t mean much. “They are not necessarily good indicators of what will happen in a big meet at the end of a season,” Stintzi said.This weekend’s meet will provide ample opportunity for the both teams — particularly the women — to show they are better than their ranking. “Our workouts would indicate we’re probably in a pretty good position right now in the season. We’re relatively healthy … and the last two weeks have been pretty good in terms of our training,” Stintzi said.Wisconsin will be led this weekend by Freshman Cassie Hintz, who placed first on the team at the Paul Short Invitational. Her time of 20:27 was good for fifth place overall in the meet. In addition to Hintz, the team will also look for contributions from Gwen Jorgenson and Kait Hurley. Jorgenson, a former swimmer, is in her first season with the team. Overall, Stintzi is happy with Hintz’s performance, but is looking for a total team contribution. “I’m happy where Cassie is right now, but I think the bigger picture is can we get the rest of the team where they need to be,” Stintzi said.Men’s coach Jerry Schumacher will look to junior Matt Withrow to lead the charge. Withrow eked past Oregon’s Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott by two seconds to take the individual title two weeks ago. The Pre-NCAA Invitational is the last chance for the Badger women to tune up before the Big Ten Championships Oct. 28 in Columbus, Ohio. Currently, there are five teams in the Big Ten ranked ahead of Wisconsin in the national rankings, including three teams ranked in the top 10.last_img

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