Cross Country: Goldsmith, Huth and Moriset ready to lead way for NU at Big Ten Championship

John Paschall

The wait is over for the Northwestern cross-country team as its runners will finally get a chance to avenge last year’s disappointing 10th-place finish at the Big Ten Championship.

Coming off a strong performance at the Wisconsin Invitational, there is no question that this year’s squad is improved and more experienced as the Wildcats head to Champaign, Ill., for this year’s conference showdown. Six of the nine runners in the Big Ten group ran in the championship meet last year.

It all starts with Audrey Huth, who has finished first on the team for all but one meet these past two seasons. The star junior came in 20th place at last year’s event.

Huth isn’t the only NU runner to turn heads. Coming off a solid freshman campaign, Lexie Goldsmith has continued her success in 2011, finishing no worse than fourth among her teammates in five races this year. There’s no doubt she knows how to perform in the clutch after she posted a season-best time during last year’s NCAA Midwest Regionals.

But possibly the most intriguing runner coming into this race is Michelle Moriset. The sophomore has successfully returned from a lower back strain that kept her out for most of the season, but this weekend’s event will mark her first big 6K race of the year. She says she is now back to 100 percent physically and feels great going into this weekend. Just last week Moriset posted a strong 5K time at the Illini Open, on the same track that the team will be running on this Sunday.

The Daily caught up with Goldsmith, Huth and Moriset to gauge their expectations going into the eagerly anticipated Big Ten Championships.

Daily: How has the team prepared for this weekend?

Huth: We’ve worked on the little things. A few of us have backed off the mileage for recovery. Other than that, we’ve just kept doing the same things that have made us successful so far this year.

Goldsmith: Our workouts have been really awesome. The next few days leading up to the race will be easy runs. We are starting to cut down mileage going into Sunday.

Moriset: Well, we’ve been doing a little less miles and slower speeds to let our bodies rest and recover from a long season.

Daily: Any strategy going into Sunday?

Huth: Ultimately, we have to keep working together as a group and keep trying to pass as many people as we can.

Goldsmith: One of the big teams we are looking for now is Indiana. We were only eight points behind them at the Wisconsin meet and at a big meet like that, that’s nothing.

Moriset: Work within the pack. It’s a lot easier to stay in the race that way. But we still have Ohio State and Indiana on our radar.

Daily: Complete this sentence: We will succeed if we ___________________.

Huth: Continue to work together as a team. All 26 of us have all really come together this year. We’ve all put so much effort and heart into this that if we do the things we have to do, we will be successful.

Goldsmith: Work together. We practice with our certain groups in our top nine but if we stay confident and focused, we can run down people together.

Moriset: Give it all we got. If everyone does their absolute best, we will do well.

Daily: What’s your biggest fear going into this weekend?

Huth: I don’t really have a big fear going into this weekend. I like to stay as positive as possible. That’s what you have to do in athletics in general. If you are always going to look at the negative side of things, you will never be able to take that chance and go for it.

Goldsmith: I stay pretty calm before races. We don’t really have much to lose in the Big Ten because we’ve never really been ranked that high. But I would hate to walk away from the race thinking I didn’t give everything I had.

Moriset: Going too hard from the start and then fading the last 1 or 2K. It’s really easy to fall back later in the race if you go too hard at the beginning.

Daily: With the team having more success this year compared to previous years, are you guys going in more confident than ever? Or are you starting to feel the pressure with the bar set so high?

Huth: We are absolutely going in with a confident attitude. In any athletic sport, there’s always going to be some sort of pressure. But you always have to take that as more of a positive than a negative.

Goldsmith: We are completely confident going in. We’ve been racing really well so far. We’ve put in the hard work all season and this is when it will all pay off.

Moriset: A mix of both. We feel more pressure because we are more confident since we know what we are capable of doing. It’s good to feel pressure because we want everyone to believe that we can do what we are capable of doing.

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