Men finish seventh in annual 8K race, above all MIAA competition

With more than 300 runners competing at Southern Stampede, and despite injuries, Missouri Southern’s men’s cross country team still finished as the top MIAA school Sept. 17.

“I think we did well,” said Tom Rutledge, head men’s cross country coach. “The pack time was better over an 8K.”

“We did really good compared to last year,” said sophomore Ryan Arthur. “We ran better as a team.”

The Lions finished seventh of 33 teams overall, trailing by three points behind Missouri State University.

“We did decent, but there were teams right in front of us that we should’ve beat,” said freshman Dustin Dixon.

Sophomore Kyle Davis once again led the lions with a 31st-place time of 25:47.40. Junior Dustin Miller had a personal best of 25:57.50 and a 39th-place finish.

Dixon came in 55th with a time of 26:26.90. Arthur finished in 26:41.30 in 74th. Freshman Patrick Mania finished in 27:04.00 for 92nd.

Tyler Chiartano, freshman, finished in 27:25.10; Derek Wright, freshman, in 27:50.30.

Marcus Walton, junior, 28:09.60.

Freshman Bret Musser, injured, came in at 29:57.70.

Rutledge said the biggest surprise was Chiartano, a half-mile runner.

“He showed a lot of courage for what he did, a lot of courage and heart,” Rutledge said.

He also said one of the positive aspects of hosting the Stampede is letting prospective students get to know the institution and the town better.

“The economic impact on the community is great,” Rutledge said.

“It was astronomical for us in Joplin and at Missouri Southern.”

With 1,600 runners Saturday, the cross country coaches needed all the help they could get.

Rutledge said the fact there were so many people helping and working the Stampede made it a success.

“We all won that day,” he said.

The Lions will have the weekend off from competition and will race next on Oct. 1 at the Oklahoma State Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla.

“We keep picking on the good people all the time,” Rutledge said. “Maybe it’ll make us better.”

The Lions are planning on taking advantage of the extra time they’ll have to train.

“We really want to focus and come together as a team,” Arthur said.

Rutledge said practice intensity will increase during this crucial point of the season.

“Sometimes we sit back in our comfort zones instead of competing in practice,” he said.

He said there’s always pain in competition no matter what, so they’ll need to learn how to run through it.

“This is probably one of the most important weeks of the year as far as training goes,” Miller said.

He said since the team is trying to work out some injuries, this will be a great week to train.