Nov. 5, 2012
• Stintzi News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's cross country coach Jim Stintzi previewed the NCAA Great Lakes Regional during Wisconsin Athletics' weekly news conference Monday.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Stintzi's remarks can be found below.
Stintzi: As Brian (Lucas) said, we're excited about the chance to host the NCAA Great Lakes Regional at home this Friday. It will be the first chance for us to actually host an NCAA event here since 1978. So both the teams and I know the entire staff and the management people are excited about this opportunity.
There are 33 teams that will be here from the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Two of those teams in each race, men's and women's, advance automatically to the NCAA championships. And then there are nine regions across the country, and then there will be 13 more teams that will be selected at large.
As Brian said, we're hoping to finish, he's exactly right, in the top four because that's what the women will have to do in order to advance based on what the season looks like so far.
We're healthy, ready to go, and looking forward to it.
Question: Is this going to be a little bit different than the Adidas? Fewer teams so hopefully a better chance for your club to perform better?
Stintzi: Yeah, hopefully. It's a completely different meet than the Adidas meet for sure. Even though there are 33 teams, it's just a different race.
We have to be in the top four to advance, so that's a real simple thing for us to know what we have to do. That's the goal this weekend, to be somewhere in the top four.
Question: Your lineup capable of that? You think so?
Stintzi: Yeah. Our top three Big Ten ran exceptionally well. But we had that gap again that we had at the Adidas meet, at the Big Ten meet. That kind of cost us a chance for the top three at the Big Ten championships.
Workouts indicate and our earlier races indicate that we can bring the gap down to 40 or 50 seconds. If we do that, we'll be fine. If we don't do that, we'll be on the outside looking in. Running in general isn't very complicated, but this is even simpler than normal. Our top three have to do what they've been doing, and fourth and fifth have to run the way they ran earlier in the year.
Question: How much does running at home help from the course and the atmosphere?
Stintzi: Normally, you would say it would help substantially. You're going to have a hometown crowd cheering you on. We know the course. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes that's bad. I mean, I'm hopeful that it's going to be really positive.
The only thing that's a little difficult, they moved the region back to Friday, and we're in the middle of a class week whereas other people will leave on Wednesday and rest on Thursday. So we have to make sure that we kind of get into the race mode earlier in the week than we normally would. So there are some challenges that being at home presents and there's certainly some advantages.
Question: You talked about running not being complicated. How do you close that gap? Aside from just telling the last two girls run faster, you're obviously not going to tell your top three to slow down and close the gap. So what can they do to close that gap? Is there technique? Is there strategy with racing? What is it?
Stintzi: Certainly strategy. What we really need to do is match up against the teams that we've run against previously this year and kind of have raced well against them. Earlier in the year, we matched up really well against Michigan State at Louisville. Those would be people we could find in the race and match up against them.
The two teams frankly that we really need to be concerned about are Toledo and Notre Dame. Those two teams, if we beat either one of those teams, they'll help advance us to the NCAA championships. Complicated process, but that's the way it works.
So our fourth and fifth runners need to run with their fourth and fifth runners, flat out, period. I think we'll be at least with them or ahead of them through three runners. They simply need to find those people and be close to them, run with them, compete with them.
Question: Your fourth and fifth runners are?
Stintzi: Good question. It's varied a little bit. Throughout until last weekend, freshman Emma-Lisa Murphy was our fourth runner. She was off a little bit. She ended up being our sixth runner. Theresa Selestow has been it for us a couple of times. Lavinia Jurkiewicz. We'll have four runners that I think could all be our fourth runner.
It's like anything else, not an exact science. I really think that any one of those four runners can match up with the people they need to match up with. Workouts would indicate it. Races would indicate earlier in the year. They simply have to do it.