Panthers look to turn heads at Bradley Invite after week off

After a weeks worth of rest, the Eastern cross country team looks to get back into action this weekend at the Bradley Invite held in Peoria.

After only select members of the Panther cross country team competed at the Notre Dame Invite on Oct. 1, this weeks Bradley Invite will be a full team meet.

This will be the first trip back to the Bradley Invite since 2007 for the Panthers. During that year, the men took fifth out of 15 teams, while the women took 15th out of 17.

With 2010 being a year of improvement for the Panthers, the team looks to return and show all of the competition that this team is a different Eastern squad.

Though the competition at the Bradley Invite will be tough, the Panthers are not phased. The Panthers will be competing against two Ohio Valley Conference foes, Southern Illinois- Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri, as well as other teams from around the country.

With Southern Illinois- Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri also competing in the OVC Championship meet just two weeks from now, the Panthers look to use the Bradley Invite as a preview of what to expect.

“We faced SIU-E earlier and we kind of already know what they have, and we’ve kind of got them pretty good,” red-shirt sophomore Nick Brehm said. “Last year they got third and we got second in conference, so it’s always a close battle.”

Other top teams competing in the Bradley Invite include Southern Illinois- Carbondale, Iowa, Illinois, Northern Iowa, Drake and Loyola.

With the NCAA Regional meet also held in Peoria, this weeks meet will allow the Panthers to get a feel for the course and allow the team to make any necessary changes or adjustments come Nov. 13 at the Regional meet.

The Panthers have been improving with each week of competition, as well as during off weeks.

“During the off-weeks we’ll have two workouts, and whenever we have a meet we’ll usually have only one and then three or four runs,” senior Megan Gingerich said. “It’s definitely a lot harder, but it definitely makes us a lot better”

They hope that this meet will help them see where they are in terms of improvements they have made and what else needs to be done before the OVC Championships and the NCAA Regionals.

Players have said that head coach Erin Howarth is extremely pleased with the team’s progress thus far.

After the Bradley Invite, the Panthers will have another break from competition until the OVC Championships on Oct. 30.

Dominic Renzetti can be reached at 591-7944 or [email protected].