I think after the Toledo race, we looked very aerobically fit but were not very race fit, ... We still ran pretty fast after Toledo, but we still had things to work on. Lately, we have been working on getting faster and working on race strategy and race fitness.
We learned our lesson last year about getting out faster and we got trapped in the back, playing catch-up the entire time. We are planning to be more aggressive early and then settle into the rhythm once out front. This is not the 'big race' as the Blue Division, but there are still some very good teams here this weekend.
Our goal this weekend is to win this race and to continue to gain experience running against some of the MAC teams. We faced Ohio four times last year and had troubles with them, but we are anxious to get out on the course and run against them again.
We had one goal going into today and that was to run as a team. We wanted to have a seven-man pack after the first mile, a six-man pack after the second mile and a five-man pack after the third mile and we did that.
Our goal last week was to run as a pack and to gain the confidence that we can compete as a team and be successful. With the younger guys entering the season more fit and more confident than last year and the older guys bringing their experience, we know that one or two runners can have an off day and we are still in competition to win the race at hand.
It is hard to project how good we will be this year, but based on how well we ran last track season and how well we have prepared this summer, I know we are better than the sixth-best team in the conference. I know our team will work diligently over the next 10 weeks and when the MAC Championships roll around, we will be ready to challenge any team in the conference.
I can not argue with the other coaches choosing Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan as the top two teams this year. There is no doubt they should both be very good teams and both should make a solid run for the NCAA meet in November.