Eastern New Mexico University cross country coach Greg LaSage knows his Greyhounds and Zias have their work cut out in Saturday’s South Central Region meet at Commerce, Texas.
“The teams that beat us in the (Lone Star) Conference meet are all ranked in the top 10 in the region,” said LaSage, whose squads both came in fifth in the league get-together Oct. 25 at Portales Country Club.
“We can compete at this level, but we’re going to have to run real well.”
The men’s race, set for 9 a.m. (MST), will be 10 kilometers — the normal men’s event is 8K — while the women will run their standard 6K starting at 8 a.m.
The meet, hosted by Texas A&M-Commerce, consists of teams from the LSC, Heartland Conference and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
The top four men’s and top two women’s squads move on to the NCAA Division II nationals Nov. 22 at Cary, N.C. What makes it even tougher for ENMU is the fact that only the top two individuals on non-qualifying teams advance.
LaSage said the men have been preparing for the extra distance they’ll have to run.
“A lot of it’s going to be mental,” he said. “Training-wise, we’re fine. We were pretty high-mileage last week.
“If they can stay focused for that extra 2,000 meters, I think we’ll be OK.”
LaSage said both his squads will have the same runners who competed for him in the LSC meet.
Redshirt freshman Ricardo Hernandez and sophomore Orlando Sanchez have been the top runners for the Hounds.
The women are led by junior Karissa Huskey, who ran her best race in the league meet in finishing fifth.
“With her workouts and everything, she should be capable of doing that every week,” LaSage said.