“It makes it nice for us because we don’t have to travel,” second-year head coach Mike Heimerman said of hosting the conference championships. “It’s a challenging course. We’ll keep it spectator friendly. You’ll be able to can stand in one spot and see the entire race.”
NSU will kick off its slate on Aug. 29 at the McNeese 6K Relays from Lake Charles’s Ward 3 Recreational Complex.
“There will be some good schools down there,” Heimerman said. “We’ve done that meet before. It will be nice to get one under our belt since we have so many new kids this year.”
The program will make its only out-of-state trip on Sept. 12 when NSU heads to the 38th Annual Justin F. Cooper Memorial Rice Invitational in Houston.
“I don’t think we’ve been at Rice since I’ve been here so it will be nice to get down there and see a lot of competition that we don’t normally get to see,” Heimerman said. “The kids will be excited because it’s a big meet. It should be a good race to go compete and see where we stand.”
The Demons finish out the month of September at Louisiana Tech’s Mook 5 Sept. 20 and the McNeese Cowboy Stampede the following week.
“(The Mook 5) will give us an opportunity to train a little bit because the following weekend we go back out to McNeese which will be a good meet,” Heimerman said. “It’s a pretty flat complex; there are no hills. It will be a good mix of competition.”
Northwestern State hosts its all-important Pre-Conference Meet Oct. 6 providing a first-hand look at what to expect just less than one month later at the Southland championships.
“It will be the same course almost to a tee we run at conference which is good because they get to train there almost every Monday,” Heimerman said. “Our kids should know the course like the back of their hand before conference.
“We don’t get to compete very much at home so when you do, you want to show up and show out. Most of the geographically close conference schools will come to it.”
NSU’s regular season finale will come at the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational hosted by Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 17 with competition expected to range from conference foes to Sun Belt competitors.
“We want them to come in, get their feet wet and learn how to run together and be a good group,” Heimerman said of the youthful group. “At these smaller meets, we can get them to push themselves but still run together as a pack.”
Albert Gladney is the team’s lone senior, while the men and women are loaded with talented freshmen.