Cross country prepares for invitational

Sophomore Kirstin Oakley will make her season debut at the Sam Bell Invitational Sept. 30. Photo via Bradleybraves.com
Sophomore Kirstin Oakley will make her season debut at the Sam Bell Invitational Sept. 30.
Photo via Bradleybraves.com

The Bradley cross country teams will race in the Sam Bell Invitational in Bloomington, Indiana,tomorrow. The race will feature nationally-ranked teams from across the country as the men willrun eight kilometers and the women will run six kilometers.

The Braves last competed in the Bradley Intercollegiate on Sept. 15 and swept the titles, but they will face tougher competition Saturday. Many teams on both the mens and womens sides are ranked among the top-25 teams in the country.

Despite the stiff competition, head coach Darren Gauson said he expects the mens team to do well.

I would expect us to finish third in the meet, Gauson said. If we do better, thats awesome, and

if we are a little off, I would be disappointed.

The men will not have the full squad Saturday as various injuries plague multiple runners, including all-American senior Dan Gagne.

Dan Gagne has an injury with his foot, and Luke Hoffert is just not quite back yet, Gauson said. We just have a few little injuries and niggles.

Injuries also resulted in Gauson pulling freshman Alec Danners redshirt for this season.

Danner will make his collegiate debut in a Bradley uniform this weekend.

On the womens side, Gauson said he is excited for the team to keep building off their win at theBradley Intercollegiate.

Our women are healthy and running well, Gauson said. We just have to keep our momentumgoing from the Intercollegiate.

Sophomore Kirstin Oakley will make her season debut for the Braves, and senior Hannah

Witczak continues to improve from the injury she suffered this summer, according to Gauson.

The six kilometer race of the Sam Bell Invite is a step up from the three-mile race of the Bradley Intercollegiate.

It will be interesting to see how we fare over a little bit longer of a distance, Gauson said.

The Sam Bell Invitational marks the first meet for the Braves this season where they are facing

nationally-ranked teams. Gauson said he believes the meet will tell him a lot about his team for the rest of the season.

It is a really good gauge of where we are with overall fitness, Gauson said. Everyone shouldbe fresh and compete hard Saturday.