The Rock’s cross country team will set their eyes on defending their home turf at the Bill Lennox Invitational.
SRU will host their meet at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds XC course.
The women’s 6000-meter race will take place at 10:30 a.m. The men’s will take on the 8000-meter course at 11:15 a.m.
The White and Green have gotten off to a fast start this year, both in terms of team placements and individual performances. Anna Igims is one athlete who has a chance to really capitalize on a great start to the season with a good showing at the home meet.
Igims has already racked up two PSAC Athlete of the Week awards through five weeks and is coming off back-to-back great performances.
“She has been steadily improving here for a very long time,” head coach Bill Jordan said. “She’s been progressing at an astounding rate.”
Both Jordan and distance coach Bobby Over referenced last year as a breakout year for Igims. One of her motivators has likely been falling just shy of qualifying for the national meet as an individual.
“It really lit a fire under her,” Over said.
Igims was joined by Troy Hart and Joey Cintavey as athlete of the week award winners over the past two weeks.
In a sport with so many competitors, high placement is a difficult-to-achieve feat. Striving for recognition from weekly awards helps many athletes maintain their work ethic.
“Those are kind of the things that keep a lot of kids on our team motivated. They’re running really well, and we’re really excited about how they’re running,” Jordan said. “There’s a lot more left in the tank for them and everyone else on the team.”
Repeating last year’s success at the Bill Lennox invite will be at the forefront of their minds as well. The women’s team took first and the men’s took second at the SRU-hosted event a year ago.
“It’s always exciting to host and get a chance to defend your home course,” Over said. “They definitely want to go out and win a home invite in front of friends and family.”
Having a home event works differently in cross country than in many other sports. Most of the time it comes down to crowd size and overall venue energy. It boils down a little differently in XC.
“The best thing about us having a home meet is getting to sleep in a little bit and having a little bit of home-field advantage,” Over said.
As much as they want to win at home, Over made it clear the goal doesn’t change with the venue.
“It’s just a highly competitive group. Any time they get on the line they’re gonna be competitive. It really doesn’t matter where that line is,” Over said. “We’re going into every single meet working for a championship.”