Chad Hensley, NKU Sports Information
Ky. - Strong competition breeds strong individuals, which in turn,
breeds strong teams. That is what Northern Kentucky University cross
country coach Steve Kruse has hoped for the entire 2007 season when
he completed the schedule.
NKU has competed
against strong competition while running in the Dayton Flyer 5K
and the Queen City Invitational, going up against Cincinnati, Dayton,
Miami University and Xavier among others.
you run against Division I opponents, it’s always a challenge,”
Kruse said. “We specifically seek out competitive meets to
challenge our teams and our top runners. It’s a trial by fire.
If we can do well in the early season against these teams, it prepares
us for the post season.”
When the Norse
take the course in the Southern Stampede at Joplin, Mo., the competition
doesn’t get any easier.
of Arkansas, known for its cross country and track success in past
years, is the favorite to win both team competitions, but Kruse
said there will be some of the top Division II talent running as
scouting puts DII men’s teams Harding (8), host Missouri Southern
State (18), Drury (25), and the always competitive Missouri-Rolla
there as well,” Kruse said. “The women’s race
promises to be a tough one with Harding (3), UC-San Diego (13),
Pittsburg State (14), Missouri Southern State (21), Southwest Baptist
(23) and Central Missouri (25). There will probably be more entered
later in the week, but either way it will be a great meet.”
Kruse decided to schedule the trip to Joplin, Mo., is to give his
teams a chance to see the course that will be the site of the NCAA
Division II national finals this fall.
to gain knowledge of the course and knowledge of the other types
of teams that also hope to qualify for the national meet in November,”
Kruse said. “We ran the pre-national last year in Florida
and it was truly the eye-opener that our team needed.
saw that we were as good as - and, in some cases, better - than
the teams that were ranked way ahead of us. It is a challenge, but
it is also a motivational tool that can uphold our beliefs in what
we are working so hard for.”