Cross country wins again in dominant showing


Kenneth Armant/ The Chart

Runners from around the area join the Missouri Southern Lions at the Southerns Stampede Sept. 21, 2013. Southern finished in the top spot in the annual home event that sees over 50 colleges compete in Joplin.

The Missouri Southern Lion’s cross country teams both took home first place finishes at the Jackling Jocks Invite hosted by Missouri S&T in Rolla on Saturday. The victory was the second straight team win for the men while the womans team has now won three straight meets. The most recent NCAA Division II polls, released three days prior to the event, have the men’s team at No. 16 in the country while the women are No. 13. Both teams are sure to climb higher in next week’s polling as they gear up for the MIAA Championship.

“The last two races have been really low key, Southwest Baptist was unexpectedly low key,” said head coach Bryan Schiding. “We expected Central and Southwest Baptist to run a little better than they did, but this past weekend we knew would be a low-key meet, which is a good meet to have two weeks out from conference to get our legs underneath us. Overall I’m really proud of our guys.”

Senior Eric Schott continued his dominance, winning his third overall meet of the season. Schott has yet to be beaten by any Division II runner in the country this year. He finished ahead of every other DII athlete in the only race he failed to win, a sixth place finish.

“Eric is having a great year, said Schiding. “He’s continued to build off last year, which was a very successful year for him, so not only did last year help with his confidence, it got some experience under his belt. This year he’s had even more confidence.”

Despite his recent success, Schott says he’s still hungry for more, and knows his string of victories puts a target on his back.

“It adds a little pressure, but we know what has happened the past two years at conference and we definitely come into the meet with a chip on our shoulder and something to prove,” said Schott. “We’ve felt we should already have one if not two titles and just haven’t put things together on the right day so going in, we know anything can happen on any day and we have to run well.”

The women’s team finished with 10 runners in the top 24, including three of the top four individual finishers.

“The team did extremely well,” said head coach Patty Vavra. “They are on a winning streak, they’ve won three meets in a row and what a great confidence boost, to have a great race like that right before the conference meet is imperative to have that confidence going into that meet [MIAA Championship] and feeling like you’re really ready. We’ve still got some places where we can improve, we’re still four weeks out from regionals, and that is going to be the really really important meet but we’re not going to overlook the conference championship either because we would certainly like to bring that trophy home.”

“We have the mentality and drive to win but it’s not going to be a walk in the park,” said senior Kaitlyn Belisle. “We’ll all have to show up and race even better than we did today. I just hope to hang on and really race the extra 1k because it will make a huge difference for placing.”

The MIAA Conference Championship meet is next up for the teams as they take to the course Nov. 8 in Bolivar.