Bowling Green, Ky. - The Western Kentucky University men's and women's cross country are set to race in their final regular season events on Saturday, with the Hilltoppers headed to Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky. and the Lady Toppers running at the Evansville Invitational in Evansville, Ind.
This will be the men's second consecutive race at Tom Sawyer Park, as they finished 25th out of 31 teams in the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 29. Senior Joseph Chebet notched his third top 10 finish of the season, placing 10th in the 8,000-meter race that featured 12 BCS schools and two nationally ranked teams.
The Hilltoppers are slated to run in the 8,000-meter black heat, which features 29 schools from around the country looking to learn the course where the NCAA Cross Country Championships are held on Nov. 17. The black heat takes off at 9:45 AM (CT). Head coach Erik Jenkins is happy his team will have a second opportunity to run Tom Sawyer Park before the postseason begins.
"Going back to Louisville pays dividends for us down the road because that's also where they're going to host the National Championships," said Jenkins. "We have a fairly young group of student-athletes who will be competing the next couple years so we want to expose them to that."
The Lady Toppers will run in the Evansville Invitational, with the race beginning at 11 AM (CT). Freshman Lindsey Hinken has led the way for WKU so far, capturing two top 25 finishes in her first three collegiate races. Hinken is one of six true freshmen on the women's roster and Jenkins has been very pleased with the overall performance of his youngsters so far.
"We've got a lot of young ladies who really want to be good and are putting in the work to do that," he said. "We just have to continue to put them in situations to be successful."
Saturday will be the final tune-up for both squads before they host the Sun Belt Conference Championships on Oct. 27 at Kereiakes Park.