The University of Richmond men's and women's cross country teams will compete in the Atlantic 10 Championships in St. Louis, Mo., on Oct. 31.
Twelve runners on each team will be allowed to compete in the meet next Saturday. The men will run 8 kilometers and the women will run 5 kilometers with the top five runners for each team determining the outcome.
Steve Taylor, the men's team coach, said six of the participating schools would bring intense competition to the race. Along with Richmond, Taylor listed the University of Massachusetts, University of Dayton, Saint Joseph's University, La Salle University and Duquesne University as the top contenders.
"All of these teams are interchangeable," Taylor said. "It'll depend on who has the best day. They'll be the team that wins out. We're that evenly matched."
The women's team won the championship last year, and had been ranked at the top of the league all season, Taylor said. But the women could expect tough competition this year, he said, especially from Dayton, La Salle and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The women's team had suffered a few setbacks because of injuries this season, but has since recovered.
"Our front runners are healthy for the first time," Taylor said. This will be the first race where the lead runners can all compete.
Senior Jenn Ennis, who finished last year's A-10 Championships in 35th place with a time of 19 minutes, 3.9 seconds, said she knew a bit about being injured: she was injured last season but has since recovered. She said she was excited for the opportunity to rank higher in this competition.
"We want to build a legacy," Ennis said. "We don't want to just win once. [We want to] always be the team that you want to chase down."
On the men's team, junior Tim Quinn, who raced in the A-10 Championships last year and placed 35th with a time of 25:12.4, said he had his own technique to stay focused.
"I try to focus on where I am in the race and what I need to do to get where I want," Quinn said. "Sometimes my mind wanders and I repeat phrases - positive things - to keep going."
In addition to the championship next week, seven men and women will compete for a spot at the national competition at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 14.
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But the teams will have to race in the A-10 Championships first. Ennis's goal is to take her team to nationals before she graduates.
"Cross country is all about the team," Ennis said. "I won't think about the personal stuff when I race. We'll encourage each other the whole way through."
Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at email@example.com
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