first_imgThe Badger women’s cross-country team heads up to Minnesota this weekend to participate in the Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in Minneapolis.This is the first real test for the Badgers this season, and the first opportunity for the leading returning runners to run.”It is always a really strong meet,” head coach Jim Stintzi said. “There will be probably five to 10 teams that are ranked in the top 30 in the country, and I haven’t broken it down, but there are a number of very good teams that will be there. It will be a good test for us.”Not only will it be a good early test for the Badgers, but Les Bolstad also happens to be the site of this year’s Big Ten Championship. However, Stintzi isn’t sure if seeing the course ahead of time is always a good thing.”Sometimes seeing the course is a good thing and sometimes it is a bad thing,” Stintzi said. “You have these preconceived notions going into the Big Ten meet about what the course is going to be like.”Stintzi believes the level of competition present and the opportunity to qualify for nationals is of much more importance.”To ensure at spot at the NCAAs, you have to beat some teams from outside of your region, and typically they have to be good teams,” Stintzi said. “This is one of the meets in which you will get teams from all over the country.”His main focus, however, is to just get a solid race in for the 12 athletes that are going to run.While there is open entry in the women’s race, Big Ten rules stipulate that only 12 athletes can travel with the team.The coach hopes to use this race as well as those leading up to the Big Ten Championship race to get his order set.Stintzi has a bunch of new runners at his disposal for this weekend including Linsey Smith, a fifth-year senior, who sat out last year as a redshirt. But the team will also be without ‘A Havahla Haynes, last year’s number two runner, who is sidelined with an ankle injury.Even with the loss of Haynes, Stinzi is confident in this year’s collection of runners.”I think we’ll be much stronger than last year,” Stintzi said. “I think we will be very competitive in this meet.”last_img

Women’s harriers travel to Minnesota

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