This Saturday’s 29th annual Greeno/Dirksen Invitational has a different twist for the Nebraska cross country team.
For most of the past 29 years, the "Greeno," as it’s known to athletes and fans, has been the only home meet for the Huskers over the course of a season. It has also been held at Pioneers Park.
Both of those are changing.
Mahoney Golf Course will host this year's meet, ahead of hosting the Big Ten Championships.
“This is just a better championship course for us to run on, I feel like,” Nebraska coach Dave Harris said.
The Nebraska runners are not taking the championship course lightly, either.
“It’s just good to know where the big hills are, because that can change when you’re going to make your move in a race,” junior and Lincoln Southeast alum Elsa Forsberg said. “It can be a little tactical advantage having ran the course before the Big Tens. But in general, you just try to run fast.”
Forsberg is no stranger to the Greeno/Dirksen meet. Before running in the meet the past two seasons, the junior remembered getting done with practice on a Saturday morning in high school and staying around to watch the races later in the morning.
“It’s pretty special being from Lincoln, growing up around it and now getting to compete,” she said.
The Huskers will look to sophomore Mark Freyhof on the men’s side to improve on his impressive freshman campaign. He finished in fifth place in last year’s event in a time of 25 minutes, 50 seconds.
Freyhof also took 47th at the Big Ten Championships.
Nebraska will look to build off last year’s performance at its home meet, where the Husker men and women both finished second.
The Huskers will then hit the road all season until returning for the Big Ten Championships in late October, so Forsberg said her team is not overlooking the opportunity to run in front of fans this week.
“We love the way Mahoney has helped us this past week, and we are just looking forward to having a good crowd tomorrow, and an even bigger one in October,” Harris said.
The other Big Ten teams joining the Huskers to run at Mahoney Golf Course on Saturday are Minnesota, Iowa, Rutgers and Michigan.
The women’s 6K will begin at 9 a.m. and will be followed by the men’s 8K race at 9:45 a.m. The races were moved up one hour due to expected heat.