TCU cross country gears up for Pre-Nationals Invitational
Oct. 14, 2005
FT. WORTH, Texas - The TCU men's and women's cross country teams will be competing in one of the biggest national meets in the country tomorrow when they lace up for the Pre-Nationals Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind. The races for both men and women will be held on the LaVern Gibson Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center, hosted by Indiana State University.
The Horned Frogs are among 73 in the men's field while there are 77 teams on the women's side. The men's competition includes 21 teams ranked in the top 30 and the women's have 23 that are nationally ranked. Due to the large number of teams participating in the meet, the competition field is split into two races (blue and white) in each of the respective divisions.
"We're going into this race with much excitement as we look to make the most of this opportunity," TCU cross country coach Patrick Cunniff said. "This is a fantastic meet, a national caliber event."
The big event serves as a performance-measuring tool for most, if not all, teams competing. For the TCU Frogs, the results from Saturday's races will help determine their own progress with the Mountain West Conference two weeks away and the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November.
"We're looking for solid performances to tell us where we are as a team right now," Cunniff said. "It will also help us determine how we'll develop into that national caliber team that we set as one of our goals at the beginning of the season."
Pacing the TCU men will be Kenyan standouts Kip Kangogo and Jackson Langat, along with sophomore Matt Manly. While the trio played a vital role to leading their team to first-place finishes in each of the three meets this season, Saturday's event will be like none other.
"This race will be an outstanding chance for Kip, Jackson and Matt to see how they stack up against top-ranked competitors in the nation," Cunniff said. "They had great performances earlier this season, but they haven't really been tested either."
The Frog men will open with the first 8,000-meter race alongside 33 other squads at 11 a.m Central time. The blue race consists of Butler, No. 4 BYU, Cal Poly-SLO, Charlotte, Cincinnati, No. 22 Dartmouth, No. 13 No. 17 Florida State, No. 12 Georgetown, Georgia, No. 21 Indiana, No. 28 Kansas, Louisville, Loyola, Miami (Ohio), No. 23 North Carolina State, Northern Arizona, Oakland University, Ohio University, No. 18 Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Purdue, Rice, No. 5 Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, Texas Pan-America, UCLA, UC-Santa Barbara, Villanova, No. 29 Virginia, Wake Forest, and Weber State.
The Pre-Nationals will also serve as the biggest challenge for the young TCU women squad as it faces 11 top 30 teams, including four ranked in the top 10. The Frogs have proven to be a strong contender earlier this season after collecting a pair of runner-up finishes behind solid performances led by junior Calandra Stewart.
"This is a chance for the women to develop as a program," Cunniff said. "We need to show how we've grown as a team on a national scale. For Calandra, it will help determine her readiness to step up as a national runner. With the younger girls, we need to see how they will respond to the challenge."
The Horned Frogs will compete in the white race, which includes 33 other women's teams. Competing alongside TCU are Air Force, No. 6 Arizona State, Auburn, Ball State, No. 26 Boston College, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, No. 7 Colorado, Colorado State, Dartmouth, Dayton, Eastern Carolina, Florida State, No. 5 Illinois, Iona, Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne, La Salle, No. 25 Marquette, Miami (Ohio), No. 2 Michigan, No. 17 Michigan State, Missouri State, Northwestern, Oakland University, Ohio University, No. 30 Oregon, Portland, No. 15 Princeton, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, UC-Santa Barbara, Utah State, Vanderbilt, No. 11 Wake Forest, No. 23 Washington, and William & Mary.
The TCU women will toe the line at 12:55 p.m. Central time.
Results from the Pre-Nationals Invitational can be viewed after each race on the Indiana State web site by clicking here.