Central Wyoming College's cross country squad has hit the road to open the new campaign, traveling to Rapid City, South Dakota for the Hardrocker Invitational, hosted by South Dakota School of Mines and Technology on Saturday.
Rustlers head coach Al Lara has been training his troops diligently over the past three weeks in anticipation of the season-opener in the shadow of Mount Rushmore and is ever optimistic of his charges' chances despite a tough field, including rivals Gillette College, not to mention the rugged terrain the Badlands will provide.
"We're headedup with five guys and I feel we'll have a good showing against Gillette, who will be there, along with South Dakota School of the Mines, Black Hills State University and Chadron State College," said Lara. "The men's side is led by Dominic Twomey,Lucas Mathew, Zach Relf, Erick Nkunzimana and Duncan Makin."
On the women's side of the gender line, one critical component will be missing when the Lady Rustlers hit the trails, as sophomore leader and former Lady Wolverine Rebekah Hutchison will be missing from the lineup, but the cupboard isn't bare, as another sophomore Big Red alum will lead the way in Jessica Stewart, said Lara.
"In the women's race, we're looking strong, led by Jessica, as well as Jesse Monahan, Sienna Shuler and Breanna Beaslin." Rebekah is staying home for a wedding where she's maid of honor. I was hoping we could've got the bride to change the date but that was a no-go," joked Lara. "But, we'll be good."
According to Lara, his squad is so evenly-matched heading into the new season, the title of top gun is too close to call on both the men's and women's sides -- only time will tell.
"I don't want to say who will be my top girl or guy because they've all been looking good and some even looking great," said Lara. "I can't wait to see how this meet turns out."