Nov. 11, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue cross country teams head to Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday to take place in the Great Lakes Cross Country Regional hosted by the University of Toledo. The races will be held at the Ottawa Park Golf Course.
The Purdue men's team holds the No. 10 regional ranking in the latest poll. Five other Big Ten teams in the region also garner top 10 rankings. Wisconsin holds the Great Lakes' top spot after winning the Big Ten Championship while Indiana comes in at No. 2. Rivals Michigan and Ohio State hold the No. 3 and No. 4 rankings, respectively, and Michigan State is No. 8.
"We're looking forward to the opportunity to match up with some of the schools from the Big Ten Conference and other programs from throughout the region," assistant coach Jake Stewart said. "The group feels as though we have a great opportunity to exceed our preseason expectations. For our seniors who are running in their last regional race, it is exciting for them to leave the program in a better position than when they entered it."
The Boilermakers have four seniors running their final Great Lakes Regional race: Cale Allen, Dominic DeSantis, Charles White, and Ladd Mercer. The remaining three are all upperclassmen including junior Stephen Schulz and redshirt juniors Robert Stewart and Simon Rogers.
The last time out, three Boilermakers finished in the top 50 at the Big Ten Championships. Schulz was the top finisher for the Old Gold and Black as he took 15th place overall. White was next and took 27th while Allen finished in 50th.
On the women's side, Purdue boasts the regions No. 14 ranking. Five other Big Ten teams are also ranked in the region. Michigan State holds the top spot after winning the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago. The Michigan Wolverines are second and the Wisconsin Badgers are No. 4. Ohio State and Indiana round out the group at No. 6 and No. 8, respectively.
"Our mindset going into this meet is the same as its been all season," said assistant coach Sarah Haveman. "We're focusing on competing well and continuing to move forward as group. It will be nice to see us finish above our regional rank. I am really proud of how our women responded after Big Tens and they have set themselves up for a great performance this weekend. Our seniors have also responded well and stepped up to the expectations we set for them."
Two Boilermakers will be racing in their final regional, seniors Stephanie Bonk and Kara Conflenti. Junior Kelly McCurdy will also compete alongside sophomores Linsey Daluga and Jenny Caddick, and freshmen Dana Payonk and Blair Doney.
The top two teams in each region will advance to compete in the NCAA Championships. Also, the top four individual finishers that are not on one of the top two teams will also advance. The NCAA Championships will be held on Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind.
The men's 10K Great Lakes Regional race is scheduled to start at noon ET on Saturday. The women's 6K will follow at 1:15 p.m. Results and a full recap will be available at PurdueSports.com following the completion of the races.