MIAA Championships start tomorrow

Mitch Carney Sports writer

The Lions are nearing the end of their cross country schedule with the MIAA championships being this Saturday in Emporia, Kansas. The Lions fell short last year at the MIAA championship with the men placing third overall and the women placing fourth, but the Lions have looked very well this year and they plan to continue their great season this Saturday,

“We’ve had a really good year so far on both the men and women’s side. I think if we come out prepared and ready the men can be the top team on Saturday and the women can be in the top three,” said Coach Jamie Burnham on his expectations for the MIAA Championships on Saturday. 

The Men will be led by junior, Nickson Kiptoo, freshman, Gideon Kimutai, junior, Cody Berry, and junior, Josh Webb. The men this season have placed either first or second at every meet besides the Chili Pepper Invite hosted by the University of Arkansas where they place sixth overall, but ran against teams that were mostly Division I. 

“I expect if the men go out and compete the way they are supposed to they can win the event this weekend with how well they have been running this year,” said Burnham on the men’s dominance so far this season. 

The women will be looking to satisfy coach Burnham’s expectations to finish in the top three. They will be led by sophomore, Ashlee Kuykendall, sophomore, Julianna Determan, senior, Sarah Usher, and sophomore, Mady Gepford. The return of Sarah Usher will be great for the Lions with her returning to the lineup combined with Ashlee Kuykendall and Determan they can really make some moves and possibly do better than most are expecting this Saturday for the women. 

“I think my reaction for the season would be surprised. At the beginning of the season with the upcoming freshman and some girls that had injuries which made not a whole team. Now we are a team and work with each other and make each other better each day. My expectations for myself this weekend is to race for my team. Where we are ranked we have a chance of placing, every point and every place is going to count. For the team, I think if everyone stays positive and works hard like we have been these few weeks then we can surprise some people,” said Kuykendall on her teams’ perseverance this year and what she expects this weekend. 

The Lions will be coming off of a strong finish in their last meet at the University of Central Missouri on October 20, where the women placed third overall with Kuykendall leading the woman with a second place finish. The men dominated the meet with Kiptoo placing first and Kimutai finishing behind him in second. Berry and Webb also had a good outing as they placed fourth and fifth respectively. On top of an already solid performance Kiptoo and Kuykendall swept the award for MIAA athletes of the week for both the men and women. If the Lions can continue their performances from the season so far especially from their last meet at UCM fans can expect the Lions to be on top.

The meet will be tomorrow, November 3, hosted by Emporia State University.