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ND Cross Country: Irish head to Wisconsin for meet

By Laura Coletti | Thursday, October 13, 2011

Both the men’s and women’s Irish squads will face plenty of tough competition as they travel this weekend to compete in the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational, a meet that features a combined 37 ranked opponents between the two fields.

“It’s basically the National meet in October,” men’s senior captain Jordan Carlson said. “Everyone who’s anyone will be at this race, outside of a few teams. It will be a real test of our strength. This will be a great opportunity to practice running in a big race with a lot of good teams.”

Senior Rachel Velarde, captain of the women’s squad, agreed that the race would be a good measuring point for her team.

“The competition will be fierce,” Velarde said. “With 19 ranked teams and 42 teams overall, it will be the biggest field we race against this year and the most competition outside of nationals. We will use the great competition to our advantage and run some fast times.”

Both captains said the key to this meet would be running as a unit. The women’s team has never run this course before. Regardless, Velarde said she believes the team will perform well.

“As a team, we are going to have to get off the line fast and find each other in order to work together,” Velarde said. “It’s a large field so it is vital for us to find each other and work together. I have heard that the course is nice and that we have the opportunity to run fast.”

Carlson said he thinks the course is well-suited for his team as well.

“We will adapt very well to this course because it is suited to runners with a lot of speed and that’s exactly what we have on this team,” he said. “We still need to focus on running as a group for the first few miles in order to help each other out when the race starts to get tough.”

The teams will use this race to prepare them for other important upcoming races including the Big East championships and nationals. Both captains said their team goal is to place in the top-10.

“I think we have the opportunity to run really well, and we will compete against some teams that we’ll see again at Big East and regionals,” Velarde said.

Carlson said the team would use this race as an indicator of future performances.

“Since this race is very competitively similar to the national meet, it would be a good indication of our potential for the national meet down the road,” Carlson added.

The women will take the course in Madison, Wisc., Friday at 3:20 p.m. The men’s race is set to begin at 4 p.m.

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu