‘Chemistry’ provides glue for Lions

Rebecca Watts

For the Missouri Southern men’s cross country runners, the team’s relationships go beyond the course.

Dustin Miller, senior middle school math and science major, said his teammates are close friends.

“We all hang out and we all have each other’s number,” he said. “At least every other week we’ll go out together or put something together, like dinner at someone’s house or going to a spook house.”

A middle distance and all-conference runner, Rustin Crockett, junior physical education major, said he has enjoyed his running career with Missouri Southern.

“I don’t know about other schools, but we have a pretty good team chemistry and we all get along with each other,” Crockett said.

At nationals, the young runners pulled together when Kyle Davis, the team captain, became sick and had to go to the hospital.

“It was one of those moments when you hold your breath and hope for the best, we look to him,” Miller said. “When he went down we knew his outlook on things was going to affect our team’s outlook especially being a younger team, but he pulled through.”

Davis’s perseverance during nationals was commendable to his team, and Miller also admires effort from other teammates, and sees it as the most valuable aspect in an athlete. Crockett said he valued the support he has experienced with the team.

“(The team) is supportive of your goals and your dreams and try to help you get where your going,” Crockett said. “If you start slacking off in practice they’ll tell you, and try to pull you back up. They help keep things in perspective, like I had one bad race and it didn’t ruin my whole season. They’re there for me.”

Kyle Davis, junior health promotion wellness major and team captain, said he valued trust from his fellow teammates. Additionally, moral decisions made off the course from his teammates are expected.

“Without trust you can’t have commitment and that goes with everybody, not just a couple friendships on the team,” he said. “That comes with the family aspect of team.”

Before the team left for nationals, the student athletes left no loose ends.

“We all made sure we got ahold of our professors and got our homework done and staying on top of things because we want to look good as a team, and the classroom is just another way of doing that,” Miller said. “There are things you have to sacrifice, but I have a passion for running more than school work, so you suffer a little for things you enjoy. There are perks to being an athlete, but we’re out there working our butts off to represent this school.”

Crockett said a reason he runs is to keep active.

“It’s an easy way to keep in shape,” he said. “You always hear of people going off to college and gaining weight, the whole freshman 15 and junk. It’s a lot easier to run and exercise when you have someone yelling at you and telling you to do it.”