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The Great Lakes region again looks like one of the best in all of Division I cross country with both genders expected to send multiple at-large bids to the NCAA Championships. In the individual race, Friday’s race in Madison is one final tune-up for NCAA favorite, Alicia Monson of Wisconsin. Here's what to watch for in both races.
Teams To Watch: Michigan State (#7), Wisconsin (#8), Michigan (#9), Notre Dame (#15),
Projected Qualifying Teams: Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Notre Dame, Indiana, Ohio State
Individuals To Watch: Alicia Monson, Wisconsin (#1); Bailey Hertenstein, Indiana (#16); Anna Rohrer, Notre Dame (#21); Ericka Vanderlende, Michigan (#23); Annie Fuller, Michigan State (#30)
The top of this race is basically a Big Ten rematch, plus Notre Dame. Two weeks ago Alicia Monson cruised to an early win in Columbus. She’s only lost once this year--a season opener against second-ranked Weini Kelati of New Mexico--and has been the best runner in the nation over the last month. She also has the advantage of racing on her home course in Madison, where she’s always run well.
Bailey Hertenstein has put together a terrific fall, improving from 28th to second in Big Ten meet over the course of the year.
Anna Rohrer is a reliable front-runner and will push the pace. She finished second to Monson in this race last year. Michigan and Ericka Vanderlende are looking to rebound after a tough result at Big Tens. Vanderlende, just a freshman, faded to sixth two weeks ago and the Wolverines placed third as a team.
Michigan State, on the strength of a solid one through five spread, pulled the upset that day. That result moved them into the top ten and looks to give them an outside shot at the podium.
With six projected bids, the Great Lakes is expected to be one of the deepest regions.
Teams To Watch: Wisconsin (#9), Indiana (#15), Notre Dame (#20), Purdue (#21)
Projected Qualifying Teams: Wisconsin, Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue, Michigan
Individuals To Watch: Oliver Hoare, Wisconsin (#7); Morgan Beadlescomb, Michigan State (#22); Kyle Mau, Indiana (#26)
It’s a similar set-up in the women’s race, with Big Ten powers Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Purdue running back their conference meet with Notre Dame thrown in. Wisconsin pulled out the team title at the Big Ten Championships, led by Oliver Hoare’s convincing victory. The run bolstered Hoare’s claim as the most versatile runners in the NCAA.
The team race on Friday will be close; however, all of the top teams should have enough points to advance to the NCAA Championships. Indiana was runner-up in Columbus and has a potent 1-2 in Ben Veatch and Kyle Mau. Purdue missed out on their chance to win their first conference title since 1943, but their trio of Jaret Carpenter, Curt Eckstein and Brody Smith gives them a path to a low score.
Notre Dame finished second at the ACC Championships and their top runner, NCAA 1500m champion Yared Nuguse, took second as well.
Individually, Michigan State’s Morgan Beadlescomb was third at Big Tens and has been consistent this year. Euan Makepeace of Butler is the Big East champion and took 26th at Pre Nationals.