The Hope College women's and men's cross country teams have their own goals in mind for Saturday's NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University.
The 12th-ranked and Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion Flying Dutch are vying for a regional championship and a spot in next week's national championship.
The Flying Dutchmen are aiming to continue their streak of Top 10 finishes in regional competition.
The regional will be held at Liberty Park in Powell, Ohio. The men's 8K race is scheduled for an 11 a.m., when the women's 6K race will follow at 12:15 p.m.
Head coach Mark Northuis said the Flying Dutch will rely on the depth that carried them to a third consecutive MIAA title two weeks ago.
Hope recorded seven of the fastest 12 times at the women's conference meet, including first-place Alexis Guttilla of St. Charles, Illinois (Westminster Christian HS) and eventual MIAA Most Valuable Runner Emily Hamilton of Naperville, Illinois (North).
"The top-ranked teams in the conference besides us are Allegheny, Oberlin, Otterbein, Kenyon, and Calvin," Northuis said. "By this point in the season, most teams have demonstrated what they are capable of doing. Our pack and depth have separated us from the other teams all season long and will be what will help us navigate the regional challengers.
"We will run together and push the pace the whole way. Knowing the course will help us finish strong."
The Flying Dutchmen, who finished fourth at the MIAA Championships, have demonstrated a strong drive and teamwork in the past three races, Northuis said.
"There were only 14 seconds separating our top five runners at the MIAA Championships," Northuis said, referring to a group led by senior Jacob Jansen of Johnston, Iowa (Johnston). "We need to have a strong team performance like we did at the conference meet to achieve our goal of placing in the top 10 teams at the regional.
"The course is flat and fast, but confusing if you have not raced it before. We raced it in September and the men performed well. We are looking forward running the regional meet on this course."