Post-season honors pile up for Southern cross country squad

Post-season honors pile up for Southern cross country squad

Post-season honors pile up for Southern cross country squad

Meagan Morrison

After placing 12th in the nation three weeks ago, the Missouri Southern men’s cross country team placed four men on the MIAA Commissioners Academic Honor Roll. Seniors Ryan Arthur, Dustin Miller, junior Dustin Dixon, and sophomore Brennan Benkert received the honor for Southern.

“To me, what they are doing in the classroom is just as important as what they do when they are running,” said Tom Rutledge, men’s cross-country coach.

“It means they are doing the right thing.”

Dixon was the first runner across the finish line for Southern at nationals. Dixon placed 23rd overall with a time of 31:13. He was followed by sophomore Isaac Garcia and Arthur who finished 35th and 59th respectively. Senior Kyle Davis, junior Derek Wright, Benkert and Miller all finished strong to lead Southern to a 12th place victory in the nation.

“The character of our team showed at nationals, despite some setbacks we still ran with guts, courage, and determination,” Miller said.

“No one on our team has any regrets about the effort put into our race at nationals.”

Dixon and Garcia received All-Academic Honors with their finishes.

“They gave everything they had for as long as they could,” Rutledge said.

“As far as I am concerned, they are number one in the nation. We have heart and I love them”

Rutledge, who is also the indoor/outdoor track and field coach, will be back in action Jan. 11th-12th at the University of Arkansas. Student assistants Marcus Walton and Kyle Rutledge will also help coach the track team.

“They do a great job. I couldn’t make it without those two,” Tom Rutledge said.

The Missouri Southern women’s cross country team finished 13th in the nation, as sophomore Kimi Shank led the lions with a 22nd place finish. Shank finished with a time of 21:24 and All-American Honors.

“She did outstanding. She has improved so much with her running and her confidence,” said Patty Vavra, women’s cross-country coach.

Shank was followed by junior Kara Eckard (59th), sophomores Courtney Waltbillig (67th), and Ashley Bunch (116th). Junior Kari Fritchie, sophomore Victoria Kline, and freshman Taylor Whitacre also finished 125th, 132nd, and 170th respectively.

“I am proud, happy. We did a lot of things right,” Vavra said.

Southern beat out schools such as Harding, Southern Indiana, and Wingate. Seattle Pacific University’s Jessica Pixler set a course record with a time of 20:29.

(Placing 13th) was not quite what we wanted, but I think we will be back and ready to improve on it next year,” Bunch said.

“It was a great season and we accomplished so much.”

Southern also placed 8 women on the MIAA Commissioners Academic Honor Roll. Senior Abbey Adams, Bunch, Eckard, Fritchie, Kline, senior Kelly O’toole, Shank and Waltbillig all received the recognition for Southern.

“There is a definite correlation between success in cross country and in the classroom,” Vavra said.

“I am just as proud for what they do in the class room.”

Vavra, the women’s indoor/outdoor track and field coach, will also be back in action Jan. 11th-12th at the University of Arkansas.