CROSS COUNTRY: Runners honored, headed to Pre-NCAA

Adam Eadens

Western’s cross country teams will travel to Terre Haute, Ind., this weekend for the Pre-NCAA meet. It will be the biggest challenge either team has faced this year.

“We’re going to see large fields, probably in the neighborhood of 40-45 teams per race, depending on the section we are in,” Coach Curtiss Long said.

Among the teams will be most of the ranked programs in the country. Neither of Western’s teams have been in a race of such size or quality this year, but it will be a critical primer for the upcoming championships.

The Toppers are taking this meet as an opportunity, not a threat.

“We’re trying to practice the big-meet running strategies that are necessary,” Long said. “You’ve got to get out, you’ve got to get relaxed, and then you have to find a running group of people that are actively moving forward. That way, you get into the competitive mix.”

Sun Belt honors

Western runners Enda Grandfield and Cara Nichols earned Sun Belt Performer of the Week honors for their respective performances at last Saturday’s Pre-District race in Greenville, N.C.

Grandfield, a junior, ran his best race of the season, finishing third overall and second among college runners with a time of 24:22. His time is the best for an 8K in the Sun Belt this season.

Sophomore Nichols also ran the best time in the Sun Belt this season. Her 17:17 in the 5K earned her second place in the race, although she was the first collegiate runner to cross the line.

Grandfield and Nichols earn the third and fourth Sun Belt Performer of the Week honors for Western’s cross country team this fall. Senior Olga Cronin and sophomore Daniel Roberts both won the honor three week ago for their performances at Western’s home meet.

Reach Adam Eadens at [email protected]