Southern cross country heads to national meet

Matt Barney, Staff Writer

Missouri Southern cross country teams continued their success at the Central Region Championship Nov. 22, in Wayne, Neb., placing third, qualifying both teams to compete at the NCAA Division II National Championship. The Lion men were once again led by senior Eric Schott who finished second, seven seconds behind Harald Karbo of Augstana College. Senior Dora Eastin was the top Lions’ woman runner, finishing 19 overall.

“The goal was to finish in the top four and go to National’s, we beat the fourth place team by a point,” said Head Coach Patty Vavra. “I was really proud of the way our girls competed.”

Schott’s second place finish marks the first time this season he has been bested by a Division II runner, it also snaps his three race win streak.

“I wish I would have been able to get the last guy at the end to be Regional Champ but it definitely takes that undefeated thing off my shoulders,” he said. “I know I can be beat now and it just shows how I’m going to have to focus for nationals in two weeks.”

The Lions had five runners named All-Region, including Schott and Eastin. Seniors Adrian Todd and Andrew Webster, along with sophomore Emily Harris were the other honorees.

“It is a great feeling,” said Harris. “We worked so hard to accomplish a goal and we finally did it.”

The Lions were again forced to contend with an injured runner as junior Kindra Emberton competed with a possible fracture of her left tibia, gutting out a finish of 39th in a courageous effort.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to drop out of the race, every hill the pain got worse and worse,” she said. “The only thing that kept me going was the parents, coaches, and the men’s team yelling at me. I realized that the only way we could qualify for nationals was if I stopped being selfish and tried to forget the pain.”

Emberton’s status for the National Championship is still unclear despite her optimism.

“I do not care to see in X-ray, I know I’m in pain and there is bruising and swelling. I’m not done racing. I will be back for Nationals.”

The National Championship takes place Dec. 6, in Louisville, Ky., as part of the NCAA Division II Fall Sports Festival.