‘Running our hearts out’

Freshman Shawn Goebel runs in the Arkansas cross country meet on Sept. 5 finishing 21st. Tonight Southern runs in the UCM invite in Warrensburg, Mo.

Julie Lybarger

Freshman Shawn Goebel runs in the Arkansas cross country meet on Sept. 5 finishing 21st. Tonight Southern runs in the UCM invite in Warrensburg, Mo.

Meagan Morrison

With the Southern Stampede one week away, the Missouri Southern men and women’s cross country teams look to improve tonight at the UCM (University of Central Missouri) Invite.

“This meet will be another big test for our freshmen,” said junior Brennan Benkert. “Coach is expecting improvement, nothing more. We will see who can step up to the challenge.”

The teams competed at the University of Arkansas meet on. Sept 5. The men ran against Division I schools such as Arkansas and University of Oklahoma. Benkert led the Southern men with a 13th place finish., running the 6k course in 20:53.

“I was not impressed with how I ran,” Benkert said. “My time was decent, but my was goal was to run with the Arkansas pack. I hope to have a better result at the Stampede a week from now.”

Derek Mendell led the freshmen with a 19th place finish, while Shawn Goebel, Jake Crocker and Derick Kimery finished 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Junior Derek Wright finished 24th, while senior Rustan Crockett finished 25th.

“Arkansas was not a great showing for us,” Benkert said. “It did tell us where we are though. That is what’s most important. We know where we are in our training, and we now have direction. We will continue to move forward and continue to do what we do…run our hearts out.”

The women’s team was led by junior Kimi Shank. Shank finished the 4k course in sixth place with a time of 14:16. The time was just 10 seconds off the leader.

“I was happy with my finish,” Shank said. “I would have liked to break up the top five, but I was right up there with them.”

Senior Kara Eckard earned a 12th place finish just in front of junior Ashley Bunch who finished 14th. Sophomore Olga Bulgurova and junior Victoria Kline finished 15th and 16th.

Senior Kari Fritchie finished 18th. Freshmen Silvia Pineda and Allyson Benkert finished 19th and 20th respectively.

“I believe the Arkansas meet went well,” Bunch said. “We ran pretty good, but still have a lot of work to do.

“It was a nice small meet that helped us get the first meet out of the way, and remember what it’s like to race.”