Women’s Cross Country Competing at Pre-Nationals
ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany women’s cross country team is sending eight members to Indiana State University where they will compete in the Pre-Nationals Invitational. The women departed Albany for Indianapolis Thursday afternoon, and will compete Saturday at 12:55 p.m. This meet represents the farthest distance the team has traveled for a competition this season.
The meet is divided into two divisions for the team races. UAlbany will compete in the 6K White race, featuring 35 teams from across the country. The Blue race, also 6K, features 51 teams, all of whom hold spots in regional rankings.
“The Blue race is the more competitive of the two,” said head coach Matt Jones, “which would be better for our front end. But the white race will be better for the team as a whole, where the competition from a team perspective will be highly competitive.”
In addition to UAlbany, nine other regionally ranked teams will participate in the White race, setting up a rematch with Xavier from Lehigh’s Paul Short Invitational two weeks ago. UAlbany will be racing the other eight regionally ranked teams for the first time this season. To Coach Jones’ point, none of the ranked teams in the White race sit higher than 13 in their respective polls, so 15th ranked UAlbany will face relatively equivalent team competition. The Blue race, by comparison, features four teams ranked first overall in their respective regions, and no team ranked lower than 12 in their poll.
“We hope to have a few of the girls up front, but we really want to see how close we can keep our top five, and our top seven,” Jones continued.
Like the America East Pre-Conference meet, the Pre-Nationals meet is run on the course that will host the National Championship race later in the season. It serves as a means for athletes and teams hopeful to compete in that race a chance to familiarize themselves with the course.
“We’re looking to maybe get one or two girls qualified for the national meet this weekend. Then they’ll be familiar with the course. But overall we want to see a good team effort, keeping the group as close together as possible,” Jones said.
Brittney Lane and Silvia Del Fava have led the UAlbany women’s team this year. Lane has been the women’s top finisher in two of the three races they have had so far, with Del Fava supplanting her in that spot in the most recent competition.
“The training has been going well,” said Jones. “We’re working through some holes in the lineup because of injuries, but I think the progress the team has made has been good.”
Indiana State will host the National Championship meet on this course on November 23.