|Follow PSU Cross Country:||Follow @PennStateTFXC|
Sept. 1, 2011
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Nittany Lion cross country team will head to Lock Haven on Friday to compete in the annual Dolan Duals.
For senior captain Caitlin Lane, she has her sights set on capturing her fourth straight win at the meet hosted by Lock Haven University.
"It would be a lot of fun to win," said Lane. "Meets like the Dolan Duals are good tests to see where my skills are early in the season."
Lock Haven's Dolan Duals is a particularly small event for collegiate cross country. The Nittany Lions will only be competing against the Bald Eagles; where as other meets have multiple Division I teams lacing up their spikes. The women's race will consist of 30-35 competitors from the two universities.
Lane emphasized that the meet holds importance that extends far beyond her fourth individual victory in a row.
"It is important for the team to run in events like this early in the year," said Lane. "We get a good gauge for how the team will run together and we get a good feel for the freshmen on the team."
Lane's personal record in Friday's event came at the beginning of her sophomore year, running the 4,000-meter race in 13:54.
"I would definitely like to get my time below the 13:50 mark on Friday," said Lane.
The senior mentioned that she performs well in races when sticking with the pack for about a mile before pulling away.
Viewed primarily as an individual sport, cross country consists of many aspects where teamwork is essential.
"I enjoy this race because it gives us a good opportunity to work together as a team," said Lane. "With the field being so small, we will be able to hear each other and motivate one another."
The women's cross country team is ranked third in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Mid-Atlantic preseason poll and is in the hunt for a Big Ten title this season. The team returns six of its seven NCAA qualifying runners as they aim for a top-ten finish nationally.
Last season, the Nittany Lions placed 26th on the national scale, falling behind only Michigan in the Big Ten
"Finishing in the top ten in the country will definitely be a challenge," said Lane. "But it is definitely something we are capable of."
Following Friday's race, the Nittany Lions will host the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Sat., Sept. 17 in University Park.