The University of Indianapolis men’s and women’s cross country teams spent much of their summer preparing for their return to campus for preseason summer camp and practice. The team reported to campus on Aug. 14 to begin practice before departing to Warren Dunes State Park for official camp practice on Aug. 20.
The teams stayed at the Tower Hill Camp in Sawyer, Mich. for the duration of their four day camp. During preseason camps and practices the teams focus on dynamic stretching, weights, hip and hurdle drills. These stretches and exercises help the athletes prepare for longer runs which they will face during the season. The exercises will also increase flexibility and endurance in the muscles which will get them through the end of a long race, according to Head Cross Country Coach Brad Robinson.
Another focus during camp and early practice is getting into a routine, and getting used to being pushed by their teammates in a group running environment. He said the reason for early preparation is an array of objectives he and the team have set for themselves. His optimism for the upcoming season was echoed by junior Mickayla Wenzel. Robinson said Wenzel will lead the way for the women’s team this fall.
“My personal goal would be to break 22:30 for a 6K,” Wenzel said. “I would also like to be all-conference if I can, if the cards play in my favor.”
Wenzel also said that she particularly hopes the Greyhounds will emerge victorious from the Indiana Intercollegiate Cross Country Meet at Purdue University on Sept. 15, at which the women’s team came in second during last season. This is the teams’ first big meet following the Butler Opener on Sept. 1 at Butler University.
Aside from this, Robinson said that both the women’s and men’s teams anticipate the arrival of their two most significant competitions which are conference and regionals.
“As we progress, conference and regional are our big meets,” Robinson said. “Ultimately conference and the regional meet are where we want to perform our best overall….Whether it happens this year or in the future, nationals would be the true test from there.”
Both Robinson and Wenzel agreed that there was excitement returning to campus and reuniting with the team after spending much of the summer apart. Robinson said that he looks forward to seeing what the team will accomplish in the upcoming season and he is confident about the gains the runners have made.
“I’m excited to have everybody back. No matter what, whether we return everybody on the team, it seems that the personality of the team changes year to year, at least to some extent,” Robinson said. “The excitement last year is always building off of last year. In general, the team seems to be a little stronger, a little healthier overall, [both] men’s and women’s programs. So that’s an exciting starting point to hopefully put us in position to further our placement-wise and achieve the goals we’re looking for.”