Women race to ‘Border’

After winning the maroon division last week at the Loyola Lakefront Invitational, the Missouri Southern women’s cross country team is getting ready for the Missouri-Illinois Border War tomorrow.

“I am doing a lot to get ready for the meet, said sophomore Kimi Shank. “I am eating right, drinking fluids, sleeping and trying to stay mentally tough.”

The team is working towards being better at the end of the season for regionals and nationals.

“These first meets are just practice,” said sophomore Ashley Bunch. “The end of the season is when it counts.”

In order to qualify for nationals, the Lions needs to place in the Top 2 at regionals, both of which Southern is hosting this year.

Southern competed as one of the 21 schools in the maroon division last week. The team took an overall 1st place finish beating out teams such as Illinois Tech, Kalamazoo and Northern Kentucky. Shank was the first Lion across the finish line with a time of 18:09. She was also first overall in the maroon division.

“I was excited to win my first college race and the team won, Shank said. “Those two events made my day.”

Shank was followed by junior Kara Eckard, who finished 3rd overall with a time of 18:27. Sophomore Courtney Waltbillig (6th), Junior Kari Fritchie (11th), Sophomore Ashley Bunch (13th), Freshman Taylor Whitacre (22nd) and Sophomore Victoria Kline (24th) helped lead Southern to a key victory.

“It was really neat being able to race on a course that is on the beach of Lake Michigan and overlooks the skyscrapers of Chicago,” said Waltbillig.

The win came right off of a week consisting of no meet and a jump to No. 9 in the national polls.

“It is a great feeling to move up in the national rankings, said Bunch. “We have been working really hard and we all deserve it.”

Despite not having a meet the week before the women still trained hard and kept focused.

“It was good for us, said Waltbillig.

“We had a chance to have mileage, hard conditioning and it will benefit us at the end of the season.”