STARKVILLE, Miss. - After collecting a pair of team wins at the Charlotte Invitational on Sept. 28, Mississippi State cross country is set for its short trip east on Friday as the Bulldogs travel to Tuscaloosa for the Crimson Classic.
MSU coach Houston Franks' teams picked up third-place finishes at last year's Alabama-hosted event, and they have taken advantage of their three-week break to prepare for conference action. Franks said his runners are focusing on quick leg turnovers and getting the top five closer together.
“As a whole, I’m excited about this meet because we’re going to get to race a few teams we haven’t gotten to race yet,” Franks said. “As it’s the last meet before SECs, we obviously want to see improvements on things we’ve been working on in practice.”
The Maroon and White will see action from two fresh faces at this meet as newcomers Rhianwedd Price and Damian Roszko are added to the field.
“I think adding Rhian into the mix gives us more depth,” Franks said. “It will also be only Carmen Brothers’ second race. Carmen, who is coming off an injury at the end of the summer, and Rhian are really starting to make big strides, so I’m excited for them to be able to race.
The freshmen are expected to provide additional support for the Bulldogs, although Franks noted that the team has not lacked depth this season.
“Damian’s training has been going well, and we’re eager to see him contribute, too,” Franks said.
The meet in Tuscaloosa will serve as the last battle on the course prior to this year's Southeastern Conference Championships slated for Nov. 1 in Gainesville, Fla.
“It’s been a good season thus far, but the most important stuff is still in front of us,” Franks said.
Competition at Harry Pritchett Running Park will begin on Friday at 5 p.m. with the women’s 5K, followed by the men’s 8K at 5:30 p.m.