The Dickinson State cross country team embraced the cold Thursday, preparing for the North Star Atlantic Association Conference Invitational in Forest City, Iowa, on Friday, Nov. 8.

The Blue Hawks will be looking to have a potential dominant outcome in the race, with the women’s team looking to take its fifth consecutive North Star Athletic Association championship, while the men will look to knock off the defending champions in Dakota State.

For the women’s team, the Blue Hawks will be looking to have a strong competition from Dakota State, which defeated the Blue Hawks at the Mount Mary Invitational on Oct. 26, in which Blue Hawks senior Lisa Townsend placed fifth and gained three points for the team with a time of 19:13. Seniors Townsend and Jacey Wilson will be looking to lead the team in the meet Friday, along with Bailey Smith, who is returning due to being held out for precautionary reasons.

“I think we have a good shot to put two, three, possibly four, maybe even more in all-conference standings. ... We should be able to put a good showing on the all-conference standings, and if that’s the case we should have a good chance of winning the meet,” head coach Shayne Wittkopp said.

As for the men, they are looking at dethroning the Trojans, the team that beat them by only 13 points at last season’s conference championship. The Trojans will feature seniors Braden Curnow and Maxwell Cruse, with both placing first and second, respectively, at last year’s meet.

“I like the runners at the top of our lineup; Hunter Flynn and Ernest Franson are running. I think that we’re going to put it all out there and see how things go and to contest (Dakota State) on (Nov. 8) that’s our job. They’re the conference champions; we got to make them earn that title again. Not give them an inch,” Kupp said.

No matter the outcome, Kupp wants his players to enjoy the race and enjoy the day.

“You only get to be here once; you only get to enjoy this race one time in your life. You might have another conference meet, if you’re a freshman, sophomore, or junior. But it’s never going to be (this intense) again, so enjoy your teammates. We got a good team culture and the kids like being around each other … just go out there and run hard for each other and try and really enjoy the experience,” he said.