The men’s and women’s cross country teams, both ranked fifth in the country, will compete at the Pre-Nationals Invitational on the NCAA championship course in Madison, Wisconsin, tomorrow morning. Both teams will toe-line against some of the top teams in the nation, offering a glimpse of what the competition and field could look like at the NCAA Division I National Championship race at the end of the season.
Both the men and women are coming off of strong showings at the Stanford Invitational two weeks ago. The women placed three runners in the top seven, finishing in front of the Division II returning champions Adams State. Fifth-year senior Elise Cranny (20:32) repeated as champion after last year’s invitational was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.
In the men’s race, the Cardinal placed five runners in the top nine to score 26 points, well ahead of UCLA’s second-place performance (53). Junior Alek Parsons (23:58.0) led the way for the men’s team, finishing in third.
This weekend’s race is expected to feature some of the top guns from last year’s NCAA Division I Championship race. After passing on racing at the Stanford Invitational, the 2017 NCAA outdoor 5,000-meter champion Grant Fisher is expected to be among the front runners in Wisconsin this weekend. Fisher finished second (23:39.1) in last year’s race, less than a second behind Syracuse senior Justyn Knight (23:38.9), who recently signed a professional running contract with Reebok. This year he is expected to finish at the top of the pack.
On the women’s side, rising stars sophomores Jessica Lawson, Julia Heymach and Jordan Oakes will look to maintain close contact with each other as the women work to improve upon last year’s fourth place finish. Led by the veteran Cranny, the women will toe the line against top competitors, such as No. 3 New Mexico, No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 11 Michigan.
The gun goes off for the women at 10:45 a.m. (CT) tomorrow, followed by the men at 11:30 a.m.
Contact Homero Gabriel Roman at homero’at’stanford.edu.