Cross Country: Panthers to use turns to advantage

Friday, September 12 2008 - EIU Invitational

By: Brandy Provaznik/Staff Reporter

Posted: 9/12/08

Brad Butler, senior accounting major, completes the final stage of the four mile race at the Walt Crawford Alumni Meet on Saturday, Sept. 6. (Karolina Strack / The Daily Eastern News)

Brad Butler, senior accounting major, completes the final stage of the four mile race at the Walt Crawford Alumni Meet on Saturday, Sept. 6. (Karolina Strack / The Daily Eastern News)The Panther Trail is full of turns, Eastern head coach Geoff Masanet said, and he is expecting his teams to know how to attack those turns. "On a course with a good chunk of turns you really need to know how to race through them," Masanet said. "You can't go to each one and slow down and then speed back up. That will kill you."

The Panthers will use their knowledge of the home course when they host the EIU Panther Open at 5:30 tonight at the Panther Trail.

Masanet said the Panthers have run this course enough times they will know when the turns are coming, which ones are sharper than the others and they won't need to slow down to figure any of that out.

"It is very comfortable and natural for us," senior Katie O'Brien said. "We know which parts are easier to run on and make moves on and what parts are going to be harder."

Sophomore Caitlin Napoleoni said it is going to be nice knowing exactly where the mile markers are and how much further she has to go from each point.

"I know where the 4K marker is, and I know that's the last 1,000 (meters) and I have to get it done there," Napoleoni said. "I know that right before that is going to be the hard part. I know which stretches are coming up and what I need to do to make it through each part."

Junior Aaron Iaun said it not only helps the Panthers are on their home course but also that the course is in good shape.

"As long as the weather is nice it should be a fast course and we should be able to put up some good times," Iaun said. "The grass is mowed real short and there are new rocks on the Panther Trail, and the course is all rolled out so the footing is even all over."

Masanet said he will only be running 10 of the 20 men on the Panthers roster and nine of the 14 women.

"We are going to be holding some people out just because they don't need to race," Masanet said. "Health wise or fitness wise, if we think it is better for them to not race every meet till conference, then they won't."

The other teams competing in the meet include: Western Illinois, Southern Illinois-Carbondale, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Southeast Missouri, Evansville, McKendree College and Danville Community College.

SIUC and Southeast Missouri are primarily the two schools Masanet said are very competitive.

"(SIUC) will probably be doing the same thing we are doing and not running their 100 percent 'A' team," Masanet said. "But their 'A-' team is still pretty tough, so I do expect that they will be the ones setting the tone."

Masanet said he expects his team to be pulled a little by the fast guys on other teams but also to stick to the race plan and to run controlled.

"We need to race hard but also be very aware of what we are doing and how we are doing and not just run recklessly," Masanet said. "We hope that time just follows and that place follows, but ultimately we are just trying to take care of our business and not get too focused on how we place."

Brandy Provaznik can be reached at 581-7944 or at