Cross Country: Eastern to face conference foes at inviteFriday, October 17 2008 - Evansville Invite
Five other Ohio Valley Conference teams to compete in Evansville, Ind., meet
Brandy Provaznik/Staff Reporter
Not only is it the last meet before the Ohio Valley Conference Championships, but many OVC schools are going to be competing at Evansville as well.
Eastern freshman Jordan Patterson said it should be an interesting meet because the Panthers haven't really had a lot of opportunities to run against OVC schools so far this season.
Head coach Geoff Masanet said he is excited to see where Eastern stacks up against other teams from the conference.
"For the guys, we need to get out there and get the job done," Masanet said. "We need to earn our spot. I think we are the deepest team in the conference on the guy's side. We just haven't shown it yet."
The Panthers showed their depth on the men's side at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 3. Freshmen Matt Dettloff and Matt Feldhake competed in the open race at Notre Dame because of limited space in the main race, and Masanet said if either had run in the primary race it would have helped Eastern's men's team place better than its 14th place finish.
Masanet said the Panthers have also been lacking confidence so far this season.
"Race day comes around and despite the fact that everything they do day in and day out should tell them 'You can do this' and 'You are ready for this,' a lot of them just aren't thinking that way," Masanet said.
Other OVC schools competing in Saturday's race include Murray State, Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech and Tennessee State.
Southern Illinois Carbondale, which the Panthers have run against two other times this year, will also be competing at Evansville.
"Carbondale is just really good," Masanet said. "They are regionally ranked, on the cusp of nationals and one of the best teams in the Midwest. They are on a whole different level than we are, and we can't let that bring down our confidence. We just need to go out and run our own good, hard, controlled race."
Patterson said he thinks the Panthers need to keep an eye on Carbondale and just not let them get too far out in front.
"I think if we can just get ourselves in a mindset to reel them in," Patterson said. "We can't let them get so far ahead of us. We just need to work on them all through the race, and we should be able to do a little better against them."
Junior Erin O'Grady said everyone knows without really saying it that there is a lot of pressure on how the Panthers do this weekend.
"Our team is really talented and we have a lot of people who are ready to get out there and roll, but we just haven't proved it yet," O'Grady said. "This is our last chance before OVC's to show everyone what we are capable of. We need to get out there and work together and be confident in ourselves and in each other."
Brandy Provaznik can be reached at 581-7944 or at email@example.com.