Men's XC team to avenge snub
Issue date: 8/27/10 Section: Sports
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"I think expectations across the entire team are very high," said senior captain Robert Ontko. "Everyone looks like they're in a lot better shape than they have been in the past few years. [NCAA's in] Iowa is always on our mind."
In order for the team to travel to Wartburg College for the national championship, it will need to qualify for a bid. Automatic bids are given to the top two teams in each conference, with up to three other schools receiving at-large bids. The Spartans, although they finished fifth last year, drew the short straw and were forced to watch while Mount Union College, who finished just four points and eighteen seconds ahead at Regionals, received a bid.
The Spartans aren't letting the other schools get in the way; they have their eye on a top spot and an automatic bid, far, far away from the bubble where they finished last year.
"We're looking real good.We've done a lot of test sets and everyone has high expectations for this year," said sophomore Chris Kelly.
The Spartans' first test will be in two weeks when the team hosts the Bill Sudeck Classic at the Squire Vallevue Farm. This will be the Spartans' first chance to trot out their new squad, which lost just one senior from last year's Great Lakes Regional crew.
"The Sudeck Invite will be a great test to see where we're at early in the season. Allegheny, who was third in the nation last year, will be there and we want to keep it close to them, because if we're able to pressure them it will definitely put us in a good place," said Kelly.