MATTHEW VANTRYON | SPORTS EDITOR
The Butler men’s cross-country team will gets its first opportunity to make a case for an appearance in the national meet this weekend as it opens its season at the Notre Dame Invitational.
Head coach Matt Roe said he expects a strong performance from his squad after a summer of training.
“We’re looking forward to seeing where we’re at and trying to run to a level of fitness we’ve gained over the summer and the last few months of training,” he said. “Our goals are to run smart, to run tough, to compete the whole way, and try to get the best result possible to maximize where we’re currently at.”
Junior Erik Peterson led the team in last year’s trip to University of Notre Dame with a 24:49 finish in the 8-kilometer race. Roe said he expects Peterson to once again be an impact performer.
“He’s running really well, he’s our top guy right now. We’re really excited to see him out on the course, he’s had a great summer and his training really well.”
The course conditions should favor Butler’s team. Peterson said running on a golf course can be ideal for those who like to run on flat terrain.
“The course is really flat, but it can be deceptively slow if the conditions aren’t that great,” he said. “I think it’ll definitely play into our team’s favor, knowing that we have some really talented guys with good speed who like running on more of a flat course.”
While the national meet is not until late November, the team is already thinking about picking up wins. Performing well against nationally-ranked teams improves the chances of making it to nationals.
“Getting a good first race and picking up a win or two makes your life a lot easier going into the next couple races,” Peterson said. “If you can pick up a couple at Notre Dame, a couple at (Pre-Nationals), and beat a couple of teams at conference, you really have a strong case for making it to nationals.”
Roe said his team’s experience on the course will only be beneficial.
“They’ve run this course before so they know what to expect,” he said. “I think its helpful that there’s a national-level invitational only two-and-a-half hours from our house. The course should suit our athletes pretty well. We expect to do well.”