Women’s: Team prepares for another tune-up at conference championships
The women’s cross-country team had another solid showing last week at the Wisconsin Invitational, as ASU finished 14th overall.
Junior Shelby Houlihan provided a boost to the squad, as she finished fourth overall in what was her second straight top-five finish this season. Houlihan also took first place at the Roy Griak Invitational earlier this season.
This week is all about training hard, but resting the tired and injured team members, coach Ryan Cole said. The team also looks at next week’s meet, the Pac-12 championships, as another chance for the younger team members to gain experience.
Cole said the message is the same as it has been all season.
“I want them to run with a lot of poise again and just really execute our race plan and continue to gain experience,” Cole said.
Cole said the experience is something the coaches can’t force, but that the runners need to take advantage of every meet so that they’re prepared going into those that count for points in the NCAA championships.
“We’re really looking, not beyond the conference meet, but definitely trying to build momentum in two weeks to carry into the regional championships to make our bid for the NCAA’s,” Cole said.
There aren’t any injuries that are holding the team back at this point, but this late in the season, people are definitely sore, and rest will be crucial heading into the final meets of the season.
Cole said he expects to run the full team next week again to make sure everyone is staying focused and motivated going into NCAA regionals.
Men’s: Team faces Pac-12 teams next weekend at conference championships
The men’s cross-country team finished in the middle of the pack at its last meet in Wisconsin, and hopes to build on that performance next week when face teams from the Pac-12.
Next week’s conference championship will be an opportunity for the Sun Devils to win conference bragging rights and get another full race under their belts.
Coach Louie Quintana said he sees the event as a way to emphasize how the runners can get better leading into the regionals, where points will be crucial.
“It’s still an important competition nevertheless,” Quintana said. “In a small meet like that, it’s important to beat your rivals and beat teams that we’re going to be recruiting against.”
Quintana said although the team didn’t have the strongest finish last week, it is important that the runners focus on every individual meet and how they’re running as a group.
“What is going to be important, is for us to feel like we can close the gap on a school like Washington who beat us,” Quintana said.
Quintana said the competition at this next meet is always tough as teams like UA are always lurking and can beat ASU on any given day.
Without downplaying next week’s meet at the conference championships, Quintana said the Sun Devils ultimately need to be focused on regionals.
“We can’t afford an average day, we need to do something that can help our cause at the regional meet,” Quintana said.
ASU’s cross-country team will travel to Boulder, Colo., on Nov. 2 for the Pac-12 regional competition.
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