Sports / The Prairie Fire / October 16, 2008

Cross-country gears up for Prairie Fire Invitational

By Megan Young

The Knox Student

Last Friday the cross-country teams competed in the Benedictine Eagle Invitational. The ladies placed fourth out of 13 teams with three girls placing in the top 25 and the men placed tenth out of 12 teams.

The season has been “fantastic, to put it in one word,” said head coach Patrick Irwin. “But the most important meets are coming in the next few weeks.”

“The important stuff has yet to come. Nothing really matters besides conference,” said junior captain Chris Mouzakitis.

Saturday the 18th is the Prairie Fire Invite, the first of two home meets for the men’s and women’s cross country teams. The home course advantage is a very important factor in cross-country because teams are more familiar with their own course, which makes navigation a non-issue. This meet will be a good way to gauge where the team will stand going into their conference meet on Nov. 1, which is also at home.

“Personally, I’d like to get a good idea where I’m at for conference in terms of place on the team and a time to shoot for,” said Mouzakitis.

Coach Irwin had high hopes for the teams at conference going into the season and they have not let him down. “I hope [the Prairie Fire Invite] will keep the momentum going before conference, “ said Irwin.

Coach Irwin sees his expectation of placing in the top half at conference as realistic at this point. It is a home meet so he will have a better idea of what the team’s chances are after the home meet this weekend. “I expect big things out of all runners in the upcoming meets,” said Irwin.

The top runners to look out for are senior Karen Brophy on the women’s side, who is currently ranked in the top 20 runners in the conference, and junior Ryan Maniscalo for the men who is very close to the top 20 all-conference cut-off.

“This has been one of the most successful seasons in several years,” said Irwin.

It seems all things are working for the cross-country teams as they approach their final meets. The Prairie Fire Invite is on Saturday Oct. 18, and the Conference final is on Saturday, Nov. 1, both of which will take place on Knox’s home cross-country course at Lake Storey Park in Galesburg.

Megan Young

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