Cross country teams prepare for final regular season meet

Andrew Weigel

The WKU men’s and women’s cross country teams will go to Evansville, Ind. on Saturday for a final tune-up before they head to the Sun Belt Conference Cross Country Championships in November.

The teams will compete in the Evansville Invitational at 11 a.m.

Coming off a promising performance at the Greater Louisville Classic where they finished 12th overall in their toughest meet of the year, the Lady Toppers are looking to finish strong as they enter the most critical part of the season.

Sophomore Lindsey Hinken, who set a personal-best 5K time in the GLC and led all Lady Topper runners, said the team is hoping to use the momentum they have built leading up to the conference title meet.

“We’re hoping to use that momentum going forward and continue to improve over the next few weeks,” Hinken said.

The field at the Evansville Invitational — in comparison to the large field at the GLC — will be similar to the one the teams will see at the Conference Championships. Coach Erik Jenkins said this was a good meet to prepare them.

“The field is similar in numbers to the field we’ll see in the Conference Championships, which will make it easier for them to run as a pack,” Jenkins said.

Hinken agreed and said the smaller meet this weekend should help the team find one another.

“Running as a pack should help us pull one another to an overall faster finish,” Hinken said.

The Toppers are coming off a 19th-place finish in the GLC and are looking to keep getting better in preparation for the Sun Belt championship.

Junior David Mokone has headlined the Toppers in every meet this season, and looks to continue his success on Saturday. The junior has already earned SBC Runner of the Week honors once this season and consistently races at a high level for the Toppers.

Coach Erik Jenkins is also pleased with sophomore Aaron Stevens, who has placed second among Topper runners in all three meets.

“I’m very pleased with Aaron’s progress this season,” Jenkins said.

Heading into the last meet of the regular season, both teams are focused on staying healthy so they can be in top physical and mental condition for postseason play, Hinken said.

“We have been training hard in practice and have been taking extra care of ourselves, as we try to stay healthy,” she said. “This deep into the season, staying healthy is difficult and critical.”