Cross country travels to Madison for Nuttycombe Invitational

Cougars head to Wisconsin to participate in one of nation’s premiere collegiate meets

The+WSU+men%E2%80%99s+cross+country+team+competes+in+its+first+race+of+the+season+with+WSU+alumni+on+Aug.+31+at+the+Colfax+Golf+Club.
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Cross country travels to Madison for Nuttycombe Invitational

The WSU men’s cross country team competes in its first race of the season with WSU alumni on Aug. 31 at the Colfax Golf Club.

The WSU men’s cross country team competes in its first race of the season with WSU alumni on Aug. 31 at the Colfax Golf Club.

KIERSTEN BUTTERWORTH | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

The WSU men’s cross country team competes in its first race of the season with WSU alumni on Aug. 31 at the Colfax Golf Club.

KIERSTEN BUTTERWORTH | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

KIERSTEN BUTTERWORTH | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

The WSU men’s cross country team competes in its first race of the season with WSU alumni on Aug. 31 at the Colfax Golf Club.

KATIE ARCHER, Evergreen reporter

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For its first road meet of the season, WSU cross country will be competing in the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Friday in Madison, Wisconsin.

The No. 13 nationally-ranked men’s team and No. 9 West Region women’s team will be facing competition from all over the country.

The races will happen on the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. This is the same course the Cougars will see for the Pre-National meet Oct. 13. The NCAA Championships later this year will be on this course as well.

For the Cougars, this is very similar to the course they saw last year in Madison.

Having previous experience of the course has helped the coaches prepare, individualize and fine-tune the race plan, said Wayne Phipps, director of cross country/track and field.

Minor adjustments were made in preparation for nationals, but 98 percent of the course is the same as it was in the past, he said.

“For us, it makes a huge difference and I think every time we’re on there, we’re going to become a better team for that course,” Phipps said.

This year the women’s team will be competing in the invitational section. Phipps said it was a great accomplishment for the women’s team to be at that level.

Last year the women’s team competed in the non-invitational section, and Vallery Korir, then a junior, won that section.

Junior Kaili Keefe said the team has been talking a lot about the course throughout the season and preparing for its challenges. Keefe is a transfer from Eastern Washington University, and it will be her first time seeing the course.

One of the challenges of the course are the hills. Keefe said the team has been doing a lot of long runs with hills to prepare for the race.

Senior Chandler Teigen said it’s shocking to run on the hills at that pace and competing against the fastest teams in the nation is what makes the race tougher. He said it is hard to make up ground at late in the race.

Preparing for this race, senior Nathan Wadhwani said it really comes down to training.

“Making sure we are doing the right things every day and giving people the confidence that we’ve been there before [is important],” Wadhwani said.

In the Cougar Classic, Phipps held out the top three women and top eight men from the race. Wadhwani and Teigen were both held out of the Cougar Classic on Sept. 14.

Not running in the Cougar Classic provided a solid month of uninterrupted training, Teigen said. Sometimes races can hinder training a little bit because of the preparation before the race and recovery afterward.

Wadhwani and Teigen are looking to finish in the top 15 at the invitational.

“So I think coming out of this we should be pretty confident in just being ready when it matters at nationals,” Wadhwani said.

The Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational B races start 11 a.m. Friday in Madison with championship races beginning at 12:20 p.m.