DES MOINES, Iowa – Two weeks after hosting the Missouri Valley Cross Country Championship, the Drake University cross country teams turns its attention to the NCAA Midwest Regional on Friday, Nov. 15 in nearby Ames, Iowa, on the Iowa State Cross Country Course.
The Midwest Regional, and the other regional championships across the country, ultimately determine the field for the upcoming NCAA Championships with the top two teams and the top four individuals not on a qualifying team advancing from each regional. Drake’s competition will be stout as the Midwest Region is one of the toughest in the nation with teams from 13 conferences and nine states converging upon the course in Ames this weekend.
“It’s one of the toughest regions in the nation and it has produced national champions,” Drake head coach Dan Hostager said. “We’ve stayed healthy on the women’s team and we’re excited to see how we stack up against the Big 12 and Big Ten teams.”
The men’s team has battled injury and training setbacks throughout the season, but is eager to close its season with a strong showing in its 10-kilometer race set to begin at noon.
“For the guys that are running, we’re looking forward to facing national-level competition and the bar is set high,” Hostager said. “Each season builds on itself, and we’re excited about the rest of the year and hope this weekend sets our team up for success in the track seasons.”
The women’s team, which has been paced by Taylor Scholl (Prior Lake, Minn.) all season is coming off strong individual performances at the MVC Championship where it finished sixth.
“Taylor [Scholl] has been our top runner all year and it’s obviously a goal for her and all our runners to be all-region,” Hostager said. “A lot of teams this year may be past their peak and we’re excited that we’re not. We had good efforts at conference but weren’t happy with our team placing. So we’d like to finish ahead of some teams that got us earlier in year.”
The Drake women line up for the 6-kilometer race at 1:15 p.m.