SARAH THUET | STAFF REPORTER
The NCAA Great Lakes Regionals, held in Madison, Wisconsin, quickly approaches for the Butler cross-country teams. The varsity runners strive to use the momentum they gained from their success at the Big East Championships in this upcoming meet.
“The Big East Championship definitely improved the morale of the team,” said sophomore Lauren Wood. “Our first two races this season failed to showcase our team’s true talent. We still have more to show of our true ability, but placing third as a team at Big East was a major step in the right direction for us.”
Wood placed 17th overall, contributing to the impressive third-place finish by the Bulldog female runners.
The men’s side also competed well at the Big East Championships, finishing fourth overall, and has high hopes for the upcoming regionals.
Billy Thomas, a freshman runner who placed 26th overall at Big East, said he thought the Big East Championship brought the team together.
“It was definitely our best race of the year, and I think that it brought us together as a team,” Thomas said. “I think that a lot of the guys really took a positive step forward, and I think that we ran tough as a team but can still give more. I think we just got a taste of what we can accomplish at regionals.”
The Bulldogs do not have the advantage of running close to home at regionals as they did in the Big East Championships, held in Carmel, Indiana. Performing in Madison could provide a few additional obstacles for the runners.
Wood said she and the rest of the team have been focused on preparing for the elements in Madison.
“There are many unknowns going into the race, including the weather, the course and other competitors,” Wood said. “Each course is different, so our training will change accordingly. The upcoming regionals race in Madison has some rolling hills, so we have been practicing hills in our workouts this past week.”
Both the men and women have been training hard to ensure prime performance at Regionals.
“[For] most of us, our work is on fine-tuning and taking care of our bodies to make sure we are feeling good,” said Thomas. “Besides that, we have been trying to simulate different aspects and situations of the race in practice to get us mentally prepared for the race.”
The regionals race will take place Nov. 14, two weeks removed from the Big East Championship. Both teams have been working incredibly hard with the common goal to reach the national stage. In order to qualify for the national meet, the team is hoping to place in the top four of five teams to earn an at-large bid, Wood said.
Thomas said he thinks the team will perform well if it executes and races efficiently.
“I am excited to see what we can do when we get to race with the best teams in the region. I think we have a lot of potential and, if we execute right, I think it will show. It is all about smart, tactical racing, efficiency and execution.”