Lincoln - The Nebraska cross country team is set to compete in its season opener Friday, Sept. 6, at the Augustana Twilight in Sioux Falls, S.D. There will be 21 teams competing in the competition, with Nebraska and Creighton University representing the only Division I teams. The race will begin at 8:00 p.m. with the women running first, followed by the men’s race.
Nebraska Head Coach David Harris believes that the team is excited to compete in their opening meet of the season after a challenging preseason practice regimen.
“I think the team looks good, we have been training hard for about two and a half weeks so we have been in a heavy training cycle.” Harris said, “The first meet of the season is one of training, there are races later that are more important. In saying that I know we are excited to go compete, it is a shorter race, three miles for the women and four miles for the men.”
With a high number of freshman competing for NU on both the men and women’s teams, Harris wants the Huskers to take it one meet at a time, as they adjust to running collegiately.
“We have a lot of freshman, we have two women and about 10 men. The expectation is to get through the first meet and get it under our belt and get through the nerves.” Harris said, “Right now we have a lot of nervous freshmen. They are all excited and you want that excitement but there is a certain amount of nerves too. They don’t know much about running collegiate meets, so we just need to get some experience.”
Check back here at Huskers.com as results will be posted Friday night following the meet.
Harris Announces Two Men’s Leaders Will Not Compete
Two leaders on the men’s team will not compete Friday, as Harris announced that senior co-captain and returning Most Valuable Runner Jarren Heng and junior Connor Gibson will sit the meet out. Harris noted that he made the decision just for precautionary reasons, in the hope that both Heng and Gibson can stay healthy and compete at a high level throughout the 2013 season.
Both Heng and Gibson have not finished an entire season in their Husker career without sitting out due to injuries, and both will be expected to contribute as top five runners this season.
Freshmen Joe Hater and Anna Peer starting to Turn Heads
Freshman newcomers to keep an eye on during the 2013 season according to Harris are Omaha native Joe Hater on the men’s side, and Bettendorf, Iowa native Anna Peer for the NU women.
Harter, the reigning Gatorade High School Cross Country Runner of the Year in Nebraska, has had great practices this season, and could end up being a top five runner for NU this year.
“Joe Harter I think will make a difference in our top five, he is showing it in practice.” Harris said.
Harter won the 2012 Nebraska Class A State Cross Country Championship after finishing sixth in the meet in 2011. Hater also received two state medals on the track during his time at Millard West high school.
Peer has also caught the eye of Harris, and should contribute right away to the relatively young women’s squad. Peer has the potential to become a top five runner for the Huskers this season and could end up being a force to be reckoned with in the future.
“I think Anna is going to make an impact on our team,” Harris said, “She has been training well, she is impressing us in training, and I think she will make an impact in our top five.”
Junior Sarah Larson Looks to Pick up Right Where She Left Off in 2012
Lincoln Northeast graduate and co-captain for 2013, Sarah Larson will look to continue leading the Husker women’s team from the front this season. Larson, who was the first Husker to cross the finish line three times in 2012, earning Most Valuable Runner has battled through a minor setback during the preseason, but is still expected to be a main contributor at Augustana.
Harris believes that even though Larson may not be fully 100 percent yet, she will still be a great competitor for NU and will certainly give it her all in Sioux Falls.
“She is not 100 percent yet, but she will race and I expect her to do well at the meet.” Harris said.