After competing at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28, Minnesota's cross country teams have only a few days until they compete again this upcoming weekend.
Coming off of a third-place finish at last weekend's meet, the women's team travels down to Indiana Friday to compete in the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational. Head coach Sarah Hopkins said after the Griak Invitational that rest and recovery will be important in determining how successful the team is at Notre Dame.
"We have a six-day turnaround for Notre Dame so it’s really important that this minute we’re starting recovery," Hopkins said after Saturday's meet. "We’ve got to rest up and recover, we’ve got to come back from it and everybody did a really good job of staying within themselves today so I think we are going to be able to recover from it really well."
Hopkins also thinks this upcoming meet will be a big national test for her runners. Nine of the top 25 ranked teams in the country will be racing at Notre Dame, including Colorado, currently the top-ranked team in the country. The Gopher women are currently ranked 29th in the nation.
The women's team will face other challenges while competing at Notre Dame. Redshirt Anastasia Korzenowski knows it will be important for everyone to be mentally prepared for the team's first meet of the season away from Minnesota. Hopkins said Burke Golf Course, the location of the meet, is also quite different than Minnesota's Les Bolstad Golf Course in that it is a much flatter course without winding hills.
Despite the women's team competing with its top runners last Saturday, men's head coach Steve Plasencia chose to take a different approach at the Griak Invitational. Several of the men's top runners including Alec Basten and Evan Ferlic were held from competing in the meet to ensure they were rested for this Saturday due to the quick turnaround between meets.
Doing well in the Paul Short Run hosted by Lehigh could be a very important steppingstone for the men's team at this point in the season. Currently, the men's team did not receive any votes to be ranked in the top 30 in the country and has not made the NCAA Championship meet since 2015.
"Our expectations are to run well and we have to see how the field ends up," Plasencia said. "But we do believe that we have some teams where we can catch some NCAA points from. That’s kind of the goal."