The Charlottes men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Terre Haute, Ind. to compete in the Pre-Nationals meet on Friday, Oct. 19.
The large group of teams competing at the Pre-Nationals created an intimidating atmosphere as 52 regionally-ranked squads out of the field of 75. For the women, 60 of the 86 teams were ranked. For the 49ers, both the men’s and women’s teams are not currently ranked. Because the teams are not ranked, they competed in the “White” races at the event. Fellow Conference USA opponents East Carolina, Tulsa and UTEP were on hand to provide Charlotte with some familiar competition.
Despite not being nationally ranked, both 49ers teams were able to finish 15th overall against some of the top teams in the country. Led by junior Zach Greth and graduate student Kim Sprano, the event gave Charlotte an understanding of exactly where they stand amongst their foes heading into the Conference USA Championships. Sprano finished 30th overall in a field of 227 with a final time of 21:52. She had a first-place finish in the group of Conference USA runners in the “B” race. For the men’s team, Greth pulled out a 44th place finish overall followed by teammate Ross Roberson in 54th.
The meet was one that increased the confidence in both squads from Charlotte as they were able to place ahead of Clemson, Liberty, Campbell and Memphis regarding the southeast region participants. “We will head into Conference USA Championships in two weeks with a lot of confidence knowing that we can compete with the top teams on both sides,” said Head Coach Ed Schlichter.
The 49ers will take a weekend off from competition giving them plenty of time to rest up for their trip to the Conference Championships in Denton, Texas on Nov. 2.