Southern to host 2007 CC Nationals

Tom Ruteledge - Head Coach, Mens Cross Country

Tom Ruteledge – Head Coach, Men’s Cross Country

While the Missouri Southern men’s cross country team traveled to Florida for this year’s national championships, next year they will only have to cross the street.

The 2007 men’s cross country NCAA National Championship Meet will be held at Southern.

“Hosting this championship is a great honor,” said head coach Tom Rutledge. “Southern has had the privilege of hosting several national championships, it’s a win-win situation.”

Rutledge also said Joplin businesses will love Southern.

“It’s a big win for the city of Joplin,” he said. “We’re very happy to do that because it exposes (business) and therefore they can profit from it as well. It helps pay back for the investments some people have made here in town and lets them believe in our school.”

In anticipation of this honor, Dustin Miller, senior middle school math and science major, redshirted the 2006 season so he can compete in his final meet at Southern.

“It’ll be my last Cross Country race at Southern and it’ll be on our home course at nationals, so I couldn’t ask for more,” Miller said.

Miller said the stress of a redshirted runner was tough on the team and he has encouraged the underclassmen and supported the other runners to step up.

“I really owe it to those guys for giving me this chance to run in nationals next year,” Miller said.

Kyle Davis, junior health wellness promotions major and team captain, is confident this team will find success next year on its home course.

“We’re going to be in the top four,” he said. “This is the best team ever and everybody should be there because nationals doesn’t happen very often here.”

Preparations for next year’s nationals have already started according to Rutledge. The paperwork and money allocations will be carefully analyzed, as will the course preparations.

“It is a national championship and we don’t want to make any mistakes,” he said. “Our course has been certified by two different sources, the NCAA and the USA TNF. There’s nothing wrong with our course; it’s been certified as far as length and everything.

“It’s quite a deal,” he said. “Hopefully this time next year we’ll be sitting back saying, ‘Boy, that was good.’ Running a national meet on your course means a lot.”