NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University women's cross country will be heading north Saturday for the 2018 Greater Louisville Classic.
And the Bruins will see a familiar and venerable race course. E.P "Tom" Sawyer State Park has hosted 16 previous Louisville Classics and the 2017 NCAA National Championships.
It has been two weeks time since Belmont graced the trails at the Commodore Classic, in which the Bruins placed 11th out of 19 teams. The training since has led to progress - and confidence -towards the heart of the fall schedule. And with that, a calculated plan for Saturday.
"We're splitting up this week, so we're not taking everybody," said Belmont coach Kate Bucknam said. "There's purpose behind that. There are some girls that just need to get in some good work, and sometimes, when racing, you can't get in as much work. We're going to split the team up a little bit and have some girls stay back and get in a couple of work outs, while we'll have five or six girls go to Louisville and race and compete and will have more of a race week versus the other half of the team."
One of the girls that will be competing in Louisville is junior Kortney Schardt, who led the pack for Belmont in both the Belmont Opener and the Commodore Classic. When asked about Schardt, Bucknam beamed about the Illinois native.
"She's just stepped up. I think physically, obviously, being the leader has helped with the emotional side of it, but even beyond that, I see her as a spiritual leader for the team, so she's truly taken it in all directions of physical, emotional, vocal, and spiritual. She's progressed and has just been a great leader."
Belmont will be competing against several schools, including several OVC schools such as Tennessee Tech and Eastern Kentucky, as well as Louisville, Kentucky, and Auburn.
The women will race at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday at E.P "Tom" Sawyer State Park.