Cross Country Teams Brace for Regionals

By Lewis Hoffman published November 2, 2003

On Saturday, the men's and women's cross country teams from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will either compete in their final meet of the season, or earn the right to race one more time at the NCAA Division II National Championships.

The outcome of the regional championship will be the deciding factor.

Wayne State College (Wayne, NE) is hosting the North Central Regional Championships this year. The top five teams from the men and the women's races, which are run separately, will qualify for the national meet. Additionally, the top two individual finishers not on a qualifying team will qualify for the national meet.

Currently, both teams are ranked among the top five in their region.

"We run in a tough region, and can't take anything for granted," said coach Graeme Badger. "It doesn't matter what we are ranked, we have to go to the meet and take care of business."

Sophomore Megan Lund feels that the women's team is ready for the meet.

"The team has been training really hard, so we are a little tired," said Lund, a member of last season's team that finished 11th at the national meet. "But, we are so strong, confident about are ability to perform and ready for this race."

If the women's team qualifies, it will be the third time in the last four seasons that they have qualified for the national meet.

"If we are focused, everything should be fine," said Badger about the women's team. "I find it encouraging that the top five runners (women's team) changes from race to race - it means they are really competing hard."

Competition on the last day of the season is something that has eluded the men's team so far. Badger, and the men's team are determined not to let history repeat itself.

"There is still a bitter taste in our mouths from last year," said Badger. "It's time to make it go away."

It was a matter of just a few places a season ago that kept the men from advancing to the national meet. Badger feels that this year's squad is deeper than last year, and working together to in an effort to qualify.

Kyle Reno of the men's team agrees.

"I know the team will do well," said team captain Kyle Reno. "Hopefully, well enough to make it (to nationals). They deserve it."

The team will have sophomore Levi Brathall competing for the second straight race. Brathall missed the majority of the season with a foot injury, but made it back for the conference championships on Oct. 25.

Senior Kelly Smith, junior Tina Gray, and Lund will likely run together in the competitive race featuring some of the nation's strongest teams, which include Western State and Adams State College.

"This is the what we work for all season," said Badger. "This is the time to really race. This one has to be all out."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

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