Cross country teams set to compete in Greater Louisville Classic

Andrew Weigel

The men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to the site of the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday to compete in the 12th annual Greater Louisville Classic.

The Toppers are coming off a No. 14 finish at the Commodore Classic. The Greater Louisville Classic is one of only two races the team will compete in before the Sun Belt Conference Championships that will be held on October 2.

Coach Erik Jenkins said he is happy with where his young team’s development is at this point in the season.

“We want to keep getting better, and we still have a long way to go,” Jenkins said. “But I think we’re where we need to be right now.”

Junior David Mokone, the only returning Topper runner to place in the top-50 in last year’s Greater Louisville Classic, is looking to improve on his 43rd-place finish.

Sophomore Aaron Stevens is the only other returning men’s runner that competed in the meet a year ago. He finished 246th, good for third among WKU runners.

The Lady Toppers are coming off a No. 7 finish at the Commodore Classic, and will look to improve on their No. 7 finish at last year’s Greater Louisville Classic.

Sophomore Lindsey Hinken was the top Lady Topper runner at last year’s meet, posting a 14th-place finish. Sophomores Louise Hill-Stirling and Katie Lever posted top-100 finishes last year, coming in 75th and 90th, respectively

The Greater Louisville Classic annually boasts top competition, with two top-10 teams competing last year, and featured 12 schools representing the six BCS Conferences a year ago.  This year, the deep field will test the young WKU teams.

“This is a new venue with good competition. We’ve been in Nashville for our first two meets this year, so running with a bigger field and nationally ranked competition will be a challenge,” Jenkins said. “No course is the same, and we want to focus on navigating as well as possible.”

Even with the tough competition, Jenkins he doesn’t plan to prepare any differently for the meet.

“It’ll be business as usual,” said Jenkins, “We want them to get better at traveling as a pack and running together.”

“We are going to continue working on our race strategy. We want to improve on not only their time, but also how they’re racing. In the end, you’ve got to beat people when it counts.”