For its final tune-up before the Mid-American Conference Championships, the men's cross country team will travel to Terre Haute on Saturday to compete in the Pre-NCAA Meet.
The meet will host Division I schools from across the nation and is split into three races. The Blue and White races will both have 35 seeded teams, while the remaining will be in the open race. Ball State will compete in the open race.
"Size-wise, this is definitely the biggest meet for us," assistant coach Jim Trautmann said. "It'll be a good meet, but it should be fun. We should be able to compete with other teams and mix it up."
Some of the teams the Cardinals will mix it up with include fellow MAC schools Buffalo, Ohio and Toledo, along with Big East schools Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
Head coach Jim Sprecher explained that the Cards will be one of teams trying to improve their national standing in this meet.
"You want to try and beat teams that may end up qualifying (automatically) for nationals, so maybe you can get an at-large bid." Sprecher said. "It's kind of like the Saragin ratings in basketball, going by strength of schedule.
"Even though we're not in a position to go to nationals, now's a time to get the younger kids ahead of the learning curve and expose them to inter-regional competition."
As for right now, Trautmann said the team has been improving as hoped for.
"We really like the way things are going. These last two weeks have been very instrumental for us. Our pack has been progressively moving up."
The coaches hope to have a good pack of four or five runners near the top on Saturday. Among those they hope to be up there are Sal Impelliterri, Steve Samuel, Aaron Hoover, Jesse Davis and Terry Goodspeed. Last week Impelliterri placed fourth in the Bronco Invitational, the first meet he has competed in this year.
Both coaches also agree that this week's cooler weather could benefit the runners.
"Distance running is aided by cooler temperatures," Trautmann said. "The weather's been nice (this week), and it should stay that way for the meet."4420"+â-+*+â-ämen's cc preview 10.17DNEditorial442SORT+++â-ä2AUDT