— PurdueTrack&Field (@PurdueTrackXC) October 28, 2016
Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 / Women’s 6K – 11 a.m. ET / Men’s 8K – Noon / Big Ten Network
Les Bolstad Golf Course / University of Minnesota / Minneapolis
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Freshmen Emma Benner and Jaret Carpenter have been Purdue’s top individuals on the men’s and women’s side, respectively, all season long. Sunday, the Boilermakers have their biggest race of the season to date, the Big Ten Championships, and the freshmen duo gets to compete at home in Minnesota.
Benner, Purdue’s top finisher in all four races in which she has competed this season, is from Forest Lake, Minnesota, located about 30 miles northeast of Minneapolis. She was the fourth-place finisher at the Minnesota State Cross Country Championships the last two years and was state champion in the 3,200-meter run in outdoor track last spring. This year, she has twice been named the Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Week.
Carpenter, the men’s top finisher in his four races this season, is from Wayzata, Minnesota, located about 20 miles west of Les Bolstad Golf Course. He was the state cross country champion and 1,600- and 3,200-meter track state champion last season. Carpenter returns to the state where he was named the Gatorade Minnesota Cross Country Runner of the Year and Gatorade Minnesota Track & Field Athlete of the Year last season.
While the Minnesota High School State Championships are not contested at Les Bolstad Golf Course, both Benner and Carpenter have competed on the course numerous times in their prep careers, something both see as an advantage. Both also expected dozens of family members, friends and former teammates to come out and support them and the Old Gold and Black. The team plans to have a pre-race spaghetti dinner at Carpenter’s house.
The Boilermakers look to improve on last season’s sixth place finish on the women’s side and seventh place spot for the men at the conference meet. The women are sending five individuals with Big Ten Cross Country Championships experience, including three scorers, while the men send five with experience and three who have scored.
Jeremy Craven is among Purdue’s top experienced men travelling to the meet. He was fifth for the Boilermakers in 2014 and has a pair of times just over 25 minutes in the 8,000-meter conference meet. This year, he has been at the top of Purdue’s lineup, including a season-best 8k time of 24:34.6 at the Notre Dame Invite. Jake Hanawalt is the men’s top returning finisher from last year’s Big Tens. He was third on the team and 40th overall with a time of 24:26.4 at that meet. Ben Anderson also scored at last year’s meet, finishing fifth on the team with a time of 24:39.2. This year, his 8k times have consistently been near 25 minutes. Alex Milner and Matthew Grider round out the experienced individuals heading to Big Tens. Milner has been Purdue’s sixth finisher the last two years, while Grider was ninth for the Boilermakers last season.
On the women’s side, Kiara McIntosh has been the No. 2 runner this season. She enters her third Big Ten meet and has scored in the previous two as the No. 2 runner in 2014 and No. 4 last year. Both of her 6k championship race times have been 21:11. This year, McIntosh feels that she is in the best shape of her life and posted a 25th-place time of 20:42 at Pre-Nationals. She also had a great showing at the Notre Dame Invite’s 5k where she was 25th.
Kendall Hacker is Purdue’s top returning finisher from the last two years. The junior was the top Boilermaker in 2014 and was third on the team last season. Both of her conference championship times have been 21:10. Mary Abramson was fifth for Purdue last year. This year, she has consistently been the No. 3 runner for the Boilermakers, including at Notre Dame and Pre-Nationals. Alyssa Christoffer and Grace Lachmund both competed at Big Tens last year and were sixth and seventh, respectively, for Purdue. They are both set to make their second Big Ten Championships appearance.
Full results and a recap will be posted to PurdueSports.com following the meet. For updates on social media, follow @BigTenChamps and @PurdueTrackXC on Twitter.