MSSU men’s cross country team place 2nd in regionals, will run in national championship


Photo courtesy of Mike Gullett, The Chart

The Missouri Southern men’s cross country team breaks away from the pack at the start of last weekend’s regional championship race.

Missouri Southern men’s cross country team earned second place at the NCAA Regional meet held at the MSSU cross country course.

The second place win qualified the Lions for a spot in NCCA Division II National Championships. This is the fifth time in seven years that the men’s team will be going to nationals.

Three Southern athletes earned All-Region honors. Sophomore Eric Schott from Cape Girardeau, Mo., led the race with a time of 30:27.3, placing fifth. Jake Benton, a junior from Wentzville, Mo., earned 13th place with a time of 30:43.1, followed by sophomore Adrian Todd from Kickapoo, Mo., in 19m with a time of 30:52.2.

“It was one of those races that we knew all season that we had the capability to take second or even first, but it was also following conference where we didn’t perform as well as we wanted to. It really put us under a lot of pressure to compete well and we did,” Benton said.

Sophomore Andrew Webster from St. Peters, Mo., and Colton Wooldridge Farmington, Mo., earned times of 31:01.1 and 31:35.0 placing 26m and 40m.

Freshman Ryan Jackson and senior Nick Niggeman placed 94m and 140m.

“Getting through regional’s and conference is the tough thing and it’s a long season, you go through ups and downs, and we made it, next is nationals,” Head Coach Tom Rutledge said.

“There are no weak people at the national championships; there are no easy pushovers. They’re all good teams, they’ve all placed at the top of their regions, and they’ve all had good seasons. There are no weak kittens at a national championship. That’s the way it should be.”

The Lions placed behind Augustana, who earned 31 points, while the Lions eared 98 points.

The Lions will have the home course advantage at the 2012 NCAA Division II National championships held Nov. 17 in Joplin.