COLUMBIA — The Missouri cross country team will travel to multiple destinations this weekend to finish the regular season.
The first competition of the weekend will take place Friday at the Bradley Pink Classic in Peoria, Ill.
Eighteen women will compete for the Tigers, including junior Liz Reida and freshman Kaitlyn Fischer, who were the first two on the team to finish the Notre Dame Invitational two weeks ago. Also competing will be: freshmen Teylar Adelsberger, Kaelyn Balch, Megan Cunningham, Kayla Friesen, Bailey Hession, Libby Luciani, Nicole Mello, Kayla Wolf and Brooke Wolfe; sophomore Sam Garrett; juniors Courtney Brown, Ali Ross, Landon Wachter, Brianna Westervelt and Courtney Wood; and senior Marie O’Leary. The women’s race is scheduled to begin at 5:05 p.m.
Joe Lynn, who is in his second year as the women’s head coach — and third as the men's head coach — is satisfied with how this group has progressed since the team's last race at Notre Dame.
"The first few meets have been good trial runs, Lynn said. "Now that we have our bearings back a little and have been together on the same page in workouts as a whole team, I’m expecting improved results.”
Lynn cautioned, however, that despite its progress, his team will need to maintain its utmost concentration throughout the race.
“This is an extremely young group, so keeping our focus from the gun till the line will determine how much we continue to move forward,” he said.
Freshmen Will Crocker, Adam DeSplinter, Grant Inskeep, Tim Johnson, Tom Rotondi and Tyler Rusboldt and senior Jon Hughes will join the women in Peoria to compete in an 8K. That race is scheduled for 4:25 p.m.
“This is a great opportunity for this group of guys to gain some varsity experience in a competitive meet,” Lynn said. “For most of them, it’ll be the first time since high school they’re being counted upon to score, so I’m excited for them and to see how they step up to the challenge.”
While these 25 are competing in Peoria, Ill., 11 others will travel to the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in Madison on Saturday, which is traditionally one of the premier races in the nation. This year, 19 of the 35 teams competing are ranked by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
The Tigers hope to put themselves in position for a spot at the NCAA Championships, which will take place on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind.
Freshman T.J. Carey, the first runner on the team to finish the Notre Dame Invitational, along with sophomores Evan Chiplock and Tyler Schneider, the first two runners to finish the team's first two meets of the season, will also compete this weekend. Freshmen Jordan Cook, Chandler Dye, Ian McGinn, Dan Roe and Drew White; sophomore Kenny Cushing; junior Sam Dickerson; and senior Hayden Legg will all travel to Madison, Wis.
With a clean bill of health, coach Lynn expects his runners to perform to their best abilities this weekend.
“This group of men have been working out extraordinary well together the past few weeks,” Lynn. “We’re about as healthy as we’ve been all season, so we’re expecting a solid team showing on Saturday.”