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Irish prepare for Terre Haute run

Joe Lindsley | Friday, November 14, 2003

About a year ago, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams ran in Terre Haute, Ind. in the NCAA Championships.Saturday, the Irish return to Terre Haute and its challenging Lavern Gibson Championship Course to qualify for the national championships at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.Both Irish squads have the opportunity to earn automatic bids to the title race if they finish first or second in their respective races. Teams that do not finish that high can still make the national race through at-large bids, and the Irish are optimistic that they will qualify one way or the other.”If everyone runs well, we hope to qualify, either by automatic, or surely by an at-large bid,” senior Brian Kerwin said. “We just want to get into nationals.”While the men will take either an automatic or an at-large bid, the women’s team – ranked No. 4 in the nation – are favored to win the Regional title. The women, fresh off their second-consecutive Big East conference victory, are returning to the regional race as defending champions. Last year was the only other time in program history the Irish had won the regional title.The women, who have been ranked in the top five all season, have a strong lineup that will not bode well for their competition this weekend.Led by former All-Americans Molly Huddle and Lauren King, the Irish will be aided by two runners who were not able to contribute to last season’s post-season success on the course. Senior Megan Johnson missed the end of last season due to an illness, and junior Kerry Meagher, who is in her first season running regularly with the varsity team, was second for the Irish at the Big East race two weeks ago.