Huskers Ready for Boost in Competition
Lincoln- The Nebraska cross country team will continue its 2013 season Saturday morning at the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn. The Huskers will compete against more than 30 of the top schools around the country, stretching from coast to coast. The meet will begin at 12:20 p.m. with the NCAA Division 1 schools running first, followed by the women’s race.
With teams competing from all around the country, Head Coach David Harris believes Saturday’s meet will be a very good test for both the Huskers men’s team and women’s team.
“I think each meet has led to the next one, I think this is the biggest meet on our schedule.” Harris said, “Obviously this isn’t the most important one, that is the Big Ten Championships, but as far as a major meet with schools around the countries competing this should be a good test for us. I think the newness and the excitement has definitely caught the attention of the team.”
With the Husker men’s team opening up with two team victories already this season and the women’s team showing an increase in talent, Harris still doesn’t quite have a feel for how both teams will fare this season as the competition gets harder. Noting that he does believe both teams are improving from last year’s results.
“I think the Woody Greeno gave us a much better indication that we are a much better team than we were last year. The women’s team has improved too, but I would feel a lot better if senior Sarah Plambeck was running (injury).” Harris said, “in terms of the men I think we took a step up last week, but we need to forget that and take this week as a new challenge. This is really going to test us, both men’s and women’s.”
Isabel Andrade Looks to Keep Leading the Women’s Team
Senior co-captain Isabel Andrade is off to an excellent start to her 2013 season, leading the Husker women at both the Augustana Twilight and the Woody Greeno Invitational.
Andrade placed fourth overall at the Augustana Twilight, running a time of 16:55.70 to help guide the Husker women’s team to a second place finish. Then at the Woody Greeno this past weekend, Andrade followed up a valiant performance with yet another tremendous performance in front of the Huskers home crowd. Andrade finished 11th at the Woody Greeno, running a blistering time of 22:48.50.
Coach Harris has taken note of Andrade’s performance early on in the 2013 season, crediting Isabel’s summer workouts and dedication to the team, which in turn has made her a top runner for the team so far this season.
“I think Isabel’s reflection on the season so far is that she put in a lot of hard work during the summer and it is starting to pay off. She is doing exactly what she needs to be doing, which is being a front runner for our women’s team.” Harris said, “Go out in front, attack the opening part of the race, and hope that the rest of the team goes with her.”
Freshmen Joseph Harter and Christian Martin off to a Hot Start
Two freshman that have really stepped their game up so far this season for the Husker men’s team are Joseph Harter and Christian Martin. Both have been top-seven runners so far this season, and don’t expect that to change as the season moves along.
The reigning Gatorade High School Cross Country Runner of the Year in Nebraska, Harter, has especially impressed Harris this season. As Harris noted, he believes the summer work Harter put in added to his already talented set of skills.
“After we recruited him, I felt like he could definitely help us, whether that was being our third runner, fifth runner, or seventh runner I just felt like he could help us.” Harris said, “First of all, he has a lot of talent, and he was willing to work this summer to build on that talent and get better. He is talented enough to be in our top five, and stay in our top five, and he has made a major impact on our team as a freshman.”
The Littleton, Colo. native, Martin also has stepped up in a huge way for the Huskers this season, adding valuable depth in the top seven rotation for Nebraska.
“Christian has stepped up his running, which is really big for us. (He) absolutely surprised me with how well he did at the Woody Greeno.” Harris said, “Christian was 26 flat, you can call it, and when anytime a freshman runs close to 25 minutes in an 8k, it is really good.”
Check back here at Huskers.com for a full meet recap as the Huskers travel to St. Paul, Minn., to compete at the Roy Griak Invitational held by Minnesota University. Results will be posted following the competition on Saturday.