Cross country takes final laps before C-USA meet

The University of South Florida’s cross country teams travel to Auburn, Ala., Saturday for the Auburn Invitational, the final tune-up race before the Conference USA Championship, Nov. 2.

USF coach Greg Thiel said each runner would work on fine tuning his or her skills in order to prepare for conference. He said there wouldn’t be a great amount of pressure on his teams, which will allow them to go out and have a little fun.

“We want to have a good, fun race,” Thiel said. “We want everyone to compete hard, but we’re not going to pressure them too much.”

The women’s team, which has enjoyed a lot of success in the last few races, will try to stay on a roll this weekend at Auburn, which Thiel said is important.

“It’s important for the women to do well in order to keep up the confidence level,” Thiel said. “The more you are on a roll, the tougher you are to beat.”

The men also hope to improve this weekend. After stumbling in the past few races, Thiel is optimistic the men will also do well.

“This course plays into the types of runners we have on the men’s team,” Thiel said. “We’ve got a lot of good track runners on the men’s side, and this course is very fast and not as rough as some of the previous courses.

“I think the men will respond well.”

The most important race of the season, however, is in two weeks in Hattiesburg, Miss. Although the Bulls still have some time before the conference championship, Thiel said his teams are beginning to think about it.

“The conference race is definitely in the back of everybody’s mind,” Thiel said.

But, he also said it’s important the Bulls don’t think too far ahead and for them to just concentrate on the task at hand.

“When we line up to race this weekend we’re going to have to push those thoughts aside,” Thiel said. “We just need to concentrate on this race and take it one race at a time.”