— PurdueTrack&Field (@PurdueTrackXC) November 11, 2016
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Thirty-four schools are set to make the trip to Madison, Wisconsin, to compete in the Great Lakes Regional on Friday. The Boilermakers will compete for a spot in next week’s NCAA Championships, with the top two teams on each side receiving an automatic bid. From there, 13 teams across the country earn at-large bids based on regional finishes and in-season performances.
Friday’s action is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET with the women’s 6,000-meter race at the Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Course. The men’s 10,000-meter championship will follow at 2.
The women look to improve upon last season’s fifth-place finish in the region, while the men will try to finish above their ninth-place finish a year ago. Both sides have been running well with young teams and each is led by a freshman.
Two weeks ago at Big Tens, Emma Benner was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after finishing sixth overall in the 6,000-meter race. She has been the top finisher for Purdue all season long. The first team All-Big Ten selection has run sub-21 minutes this season and put together an impressive time 21:08.6 at the Big Ten Championships on the muddy, hilly course. Kiara McIntosh has been the No. 2 runner for the women all season. She finished 18th at Big Tens with a time of 21:41.1. McIntosh was fourth for the Boilermakers at the Great Lakes Regional last season with a time of 21:36.9.
Kendall Hacker is the top returned for the women from last year’s regional. She was third for Purdue and finished 29th overall with a time of 21:16.4. She was Purdue’s fifth runner at Big Tens this season. Alyssa Christoffer and Mary Abramson are the only two other women for Purdue that ran at regionals last season. Christoffer scored, as she was fifth on the team, with a time of 21:49.0. Abramson was sixth for the Boilermakers with a time of 22:19.8. This season, Abramson was third for the women at Big Tens. Grace Lachmund is also set to compete. She scored for Purdue at Big Tens after finishing fourth on the team with a time of 22:37.2.
On the men’s side, Jaret Carpenter has led the Boilermakers all season, but will compete in the first 10k of his career. He finished 16th at Big Tens with an 8k time of 25:05.8. Jeremy Craven has had a strong year and been the No. 2 runner all season. He was 31st at Big Tens with a time of 25:20.6. Alex Milner is the top returner from last season’s regional. There, he finished second for the Boilermakers with a time of 31:58.1.
Ben Anderson has had a good year for Purdue and was third for the Boilermakers at Big Tens. He finished 34th overall with an 8k time of 25:25.8. Anderson, a sophomore, was also third for Purdue at last year’s regional, where he was 53rd overall with a time of 32:04.8 in the 10k. Cole Hester and Jacob Hanawalt have regionals experience. Hester was sixth for Purdue at the meet last year, while Hanawalt scored as the Boilermakers’ fourth runner. Hanawalt was fourth for the Boilermakers at Big Tens this season, while Hester was sixth. Matthew Grider will also compete. He scored at Big Tens as Purdue’s fifth finisher.
Aside from team qualifiers, 38 individuals across the national will qualify for the NCAA Championships. The top four finishers from each region who are not part of a qualifying team will advance, so long as they finish in the top 25 in their respective region. From there, two additional runners will be selected as at-large individuals.
For coverage, follow @PurdueTrackXC on Twitter during the meet. Live results will also be posted there and on PurdueSports.com.