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In nearly every sport, there's a benefit to hosting a event.
Cross country running is no exception.
"You train on it, you get to learn it," said Valley City State University cross country coach Ken Frenette. "You're comfortable with the footing, you're comfortable with the turns.
"A lot of times, even in road races, if you don't know the course you're thinking about where you're going or you're following people, so if you know it, it just eases your mind a little bit."
It's a familiarity the Vikings don't get often, but will tomorrow when they host the Valley City State Invitational at the Valley City Town and Country Club.
The event includes high school races starting at 2 p.m. and college races starting at 4 p.m.
Collegiate teams expected to participate include runners from Jamestown College, Bemidji (Minn.) State University, Concordia (Minn.) College, and University of Minnesota â€” Morris. Valley City High School will be among the high school teams racing.
The race starts the season for Valley City State, which relies largely on returning runners from last season.
This year, the team has been focused on training away from the road work they've done in the past. In addition to the Town and Country Club, the team has also found trails at the foot of the Hi-Liner Bridge.
"I think the kids like doing that better," Frenette said.
"It's a pretty small band of sisters and brothers type thing," Frenette said.
The men are led by returning All-Dakota Athletic Conference runners Casey Flick and Richard Wright. The team also includes the experience of Wayne Englehard, who was an All-American in the 800 meter run during the indoor track season, and Kinsley Tarmann.
The womens team is small, consisting only of All-DAC returnee Anna Fuka, Krista Briss, and Summer Romine.
Though Frenette hopes to grow the program in the near future, he is pleased with the team he has this season.
"They're good kids, they're hard workers," he said. "We're looking forward to building on what they accomplished last year, in regards to setting personal records."