In the first meet of the season, the SIUE men's and women's cross country teams look to make a statement at the SIUE Open this Saturday.
Coach Darryl Frerker said this weekend's meet would have a strong turnout of teams.
The SIUE Open begins Saturday morning at 9 with the women's 5,000-meter run and is followed by the men's 8,000 meter at 9:30 a.m. Teams competing in the race are Maryville University, Webster University, Fontbonne College, Greenville College, Central Methodist College, Missouri Baptist College and Washington University. The men's side also will include Truman State.
Frerker believes his women's team is going to be a surprise to many people.
"The ladies are ready to compete and have been practicing well. We lost three seniors who will be tough to replace, but I hope to surprise people with a young, talented team."
Juniors Amanda Bozue (Joliet) and Jill Irlam (Virden) lead the women's side for the Cougars.
On the men's side, Frerker said the team is going to get better.
"I am anticipating the team to move up compared to last season."
Frerker looks to sophomores Jason Olszowka (Lockport), Robert Old (Hendersonville, Tenn.) and three freshmen to be in the top five on a consistent basis.