Written by  in Sports on Oct 14, 2010 5:00 / comments

CU cross country’s varsity squad travels to Terre Haute, Ind. this weekend to compete against the fastest runners from across the country at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Meet.

Assistant coach Heather Burroughs will be traveling to Terre Haute with the Pre-Nationals team, while head coach Mark Wetmore will attend the Fort Hays Invitational in Hays, Kan. with the developmental squad.

Burroughs said the primary goal of Saturday’s meet is to preview the course, since it will also be the destination of the NCAA Championship on Nov. 22. Over 200 runners will compete in each race at Pre-Nationals and at Nationals, so Buff runners will use this weekend to learn how to manage traffic and handle runners who come out strong early in the race.

The women’s squad is currently ranked ninth in the USTFCCCA polls, but sophomore Laura Tremblay said she believes Pre-Nationals will be a chance to let the competition know that rankings don’t mean everything.

“If we could win again that would be awesome… it will be an opportunity to show we have talent,” Tremblay said.

The Colorado women are reigning champions, and although they are missing their top two runners from last year, Jenny Barringer and Allie McLaughlin, they have a strong pack that feels ready to take on the competition.

The top four runners—Tremblay, junior Emma Coburn, redshirt freshman Shalaya Kipp and senior Laura Thweatt—all finished within fifteen seconds of each other at the Rocky Mountain Shootout on Oct. 2.

“If they run comparably, they’ll all be very high in the individual finish and [as a team],” Burroughs said.

Tremblay, who finished first in the Shootout, and Coburn, who was just one second behind her as the runner-up, would both like to place in the top 15 this weekend, but they also find it hard to predict which of the top four will pull ahead.

“The whole group has to step up… we’re all in good shape, [and] any of the four of us could be up there high,” Coburn said.

Sophomore standout Joe Bosshard is confident that the men’s team, which earned third last year at Pre-Nationals and is currently ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA polls, will perform well.

Bosshard did not compete at Pre-Nationals last year but did race in the NCAA National Championship. He has seen a lot of individual success in the past year, after a strong track season and a first place finish in the men’s race at the Rocky Mountain Shootout.

“Every time you do it again, you get more comfortable,” Bosshard said.

For the Buffs so early in the season, though, this weekend’s race is more about team preparation and improvement than individual titles.

“Five to six of us do every workout together, and we push each other more than we would on our own,” Bosshard said. “When others around you are in the same battle you are… you’re not out there just for yourself.”

Burroughs said she also expects strong performances from juniors Christian Thompson and Andy Wacker, who finished in third and fourth place respectively at the Shootout.

After Pre-Nationals, the Buffs will have two weeks to prepare for the Big 12 Championship on Oct. 30.

“We’ll do a little less volume when Big 12’s come around… [we’ll be] decreasing little by little [and do] more speed-work instead of longer intervals,” Tremblay said.

After the conference championship, the team will set its sights on the NCAA Mountain Region Championship on Nov. 13, and finally finish out the season at the NCAA National Championship Nov. 22.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writter Caryn Maconi at Caryn.maconi@colorado.edu.