Cross Country: Wildcats head to University of Kansas-Lawrence for Midwest Regionals


Tucker Johnson/The Daily Northwestern

A pair of Wildcats race at the Big Ten Championships. After a long season, Northwestern will be resting several key runners at Friday’s NCAA Midwest Regional Championships.

Ellie Friedmann, Reporter

Cross Country

The Wildcats are traveling to the University of Kansas-Lawrence for the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on Friday, but several key runners on the squad will not be competing.

Coach ‘A Havahla Haynes said she is resting her freshman athletes and several top runners, including junior Jena Pianin and senior Camille Blackman, who cannot compete because of injuries.

Haynes has chosen to rest freshmen Hannah Anderson and Mary Orders, who both placed in the top seven on NU’s roster at the Big Ten Championships, and will race seniors Renee Wellman and Megan O’Brien, who didn’t make the cut for Big Tens but are accustomed to the length of the college season.

“On the back side of our program, we’ve been fairly interchangeable,” Haynes said. “Right now, the season gets really long for what we consider our freshman athletes. We’re thinking long term for them, so we want to hold them out and keep them from getting fatigued or injured.”

Senior Rachel Weathered, who finished last for the Cats at Big Tens because of difficulties with her asthma during the race, will be competing again Friday. Haynes said she is fully recovered and ready to race well.

The Cats have had two weeks off from racing since the Big Ten Championships, where they placed 12th of 14 teams, missing their goal of finishing in the top 10. Careful to avoid injury among her athletes during those two weeks, Haynes said her runners have been carefully training, mentally and physically, to achieve their goal of finishing in the top half at Regionals.

“Since Big Tens, we’ve gone back to just having some solid training, realizing that we’re not going to gain much fitness from Big Tens to Regionals,” she said. “We’ve just gone back to training consistently, prepping mentally for Regionals.”

Though her team fell to Iowa at Big Tens, Haynes said she would like her runners to be closer to or better than Iowa at Regionals, which would indicate a solid performance and improvement in racing as a team. Of 35 teams on the women’s side, Haynes said her program has competed against about 15 to 18 of those teams and would like to stay competitive on this course, which the Cats have never competed on but know is tough and hilly toward the end.

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