[Hey, Friday Night Open Thread over here.]
The quest for the men's and women's cross-country teams to return to the NCAA Championships will get underway tonight when they pay a visit to nearby Lock Haven for the Dolan Duals. Formerly known as the Lock Haven University Invitational (which, I myself, participated in once as a member of PSU's Club Team), the meet became a simple dual meet between PSU and Lock Haven within the past few years. Not only did PSU come out winners on both the men's and women's side last year, but the individual men's and women's champions Vince McNally and Caitlin Lane, both return to help ensure further PSU dominance in this series. So yeah, good luck with that, Lock Haven.
Now, this meet will have no actual bearing on whether PSU will make it to the NCAA Championships. Rather, it will depend on how they perform in the Big Ten Championships on October 30th. Meets like tonight's however, and the subsequent meets preceding the Big Ten Championships should be seen as a way for head coach Beth Alford-Sullivan and her staff (Alford-Sullivan coaches both the men's and women's teams) to evaluate the team's progress and adjust workouts accordingly to make sure the runners are all in their peak shape come Big Ten Championships.