Sophomore Lane Werley doesn’t believe in home field advantage.
Werley, who finished fifth at last month’s Pac-12 Preview in Santa Clarita, said he’s more comfortable competing on the road, a result of last year’s travel-heavy schedule.
“Last year all I did was travel, so it is easier for me, it is more normal to travel,” Werley said. “We don’t have home meets all that often so this year was kind of a change. It is different being at home, going from the dorms to the race course right away.”
Werley’s preference for away meets will come in handy this weekend, when he travels with the Bruins to Madison, Wis., for the Wisconsin Invitational. While some runners will be competing at the Bronco Invitational in Santa Clara, Wisconsin is hosting the best teams in the country.
The race in Wisconsin will involve more than 15 of the nations’s top 25 teams.
“This is our first big test,” said coach Forest Braden. “This is our first race on that national level.”
Braden also said that the isolation during travel may help the Bruins perform.
“We are secluded to our hotel room and we don’t have the distractions,” Braden said. “For the most part, we had a really smooth travel this time.”
Between the stress of the team’s first big race and the exhaustion of travel, Braden is trying to keep his team focused on one meet at a time.
But junior Dustin Fay is already looking far ahead ““ to the team’s trip to Louisville, Ky., for nationals in November.
Fay said that while every runner has a way of preparing and an individual run time goal, everyone’s common goal is to get to the national championship.
“When we aim for the team’s goals, a lot of individual goals get accomplished as well,” he said.
And with that fact in mind, Werley ““ who was the first Bruin to finish in Santa Clarita last month ““ admitted that he is going to take this race more seriously than the last.
“Last race, I didn’t totally mentally prepare. It is mentally draining to mentally prepare for every race, so the last race I just went out and ran it,” he said. “So this one is more of a mental-preparedness kind of race.”