Event: NCAA Pre-Nationals
Where: Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Ind.
When: Oct. 17
Who to watch: Sophomore Jon Peterson and junior Russ Pfaff have been the one, two punch for the Aggie men this season. The duo has led the team throughout the season, claiming the top two spots on more than one occasion.
On the women’s side, sophomores Abbey Gallaher and Sarah Sumpter have consistently posted good times for the Aggies, both of them repeatedly finishing at or near the front of the pack.
Did you know? At last year’s Pre-Nationals, the UC Davis men’s cross country team finished 23rd in their field in the 8K race, while the women came in at 12th in the 6K.
Preview: This weekend, coach Drew Wartenburg will be taking a team of 16 runners, eight women and eight men, to Terre Haute, Ind. for the chance to find out where UC Davis stacks up against some of the toughest competition the nation has to offer. This is one of the largest meets that UC Davis will compete in this season, drawing anywhere from 60 to 80 teams from across the nation.
The team graduated several runners who were key to last season’s success, but the team is ready to take over where last year’s seniors left off.
Even with the heightened pressure and anxiety that comes along with a meet of this magnitude, the team won’t be changing their strategy too much. “You can only control your own mindset and preparation,” Wartenburg said.
After this weekend, with a mere four weeks to prepare for the NCAA West Regional Championship, the team will have a better idea of what works and what needs work.
If the team does pass through regionals, the NCAA Championships will be held on the same Terra Haute course they will be running on Saturday.
“This weekend is like a dress rehearsal for nationals,” Wartenburg said. For any of the Aggie runners who do get a bid to nationals, the NCAA Pre-Nationals at Terra Haute will have given them great experience.
– Samantha Foster