Women finish second at MIAA meet


Courtesy of Mike Gullett

Members of the women’s cross country team run in the Oct. 22 MIAA Championship meet. The Lions finished second among nine teams.

Jeremy Thomas


As the month of November rolls in, it signals the near end of the cross country season here at Missouri Southern. The Lions are coming off a second place finish at the MIAA championships the team hosted on Oct. 22 in Joplin. Coming into the conference meet Head Coach Patty Vavra mentioned the tough competition that the conference was stacking up, and that Pittsburg State University would be the team to beat. She knew what she was talking about, as PSU claimed the conference title by 29 points over Missouri Southern. 

“The more focus my runners have in practice, the harder they compete, I thought they ran an excellent conference race,” Vavra said. 

For the Lions, a familiar face led the team in the 6k, and just missed capturing the first place spot by only six seconds, as Marlee Tegenkamp finished second overall. Tegenkamp finished in a time of 21:06.42, while fellow teammate Rachel Schrader came in ninth with a time of 21:47.30. 

“Marlee and Rachel had a great meet, they are continually improving from every meet, they are looking really good at this point in the season,” Vavra said. 

With good running at the conference meet both Tegenkamp and Schrader were named All-MIAA athletes. For the other Lions Olivia Francka cracked the top-25 finishers as she placed 24th with a time of 22:41.67. While teammates Maggie Tennal and Codi Fritchie placed 28, 29th. 

“Maggie has been stepping up and running good races. I thought she ran great at conference,” Vavra said.

Although the Lions fell to conference foe and rival Pitt State, they were able to knock off two other top ranked conference teams in Truman State University and Southwest Baptist University. 

“We still have a lot of ground to make up to have a chance at capturing a regional title, but this was one of the best conference meet we could have had, the team was well prepared and competed very well,” Vavra said. 

She also mentioned that the team has matured a lot, and are gelling smoothly, as each runner is feeding off of each other providing the team with a sense of unity. At the beginning of the season Vavra knew she had a tough task at hand as she had a very young squad to manage, a squad with no upperclassmen.

“Every runner knew they had to step up and contribute to the team some way this season, and they have been doing that all season long,” Vavra said

“Each runner has adapted well of having to be a key component to a team’s success,” Vavra said.

The Lions will get prepared to head to Wichita Falls, Texas, tomorrow to compete in the 2011 NCAA Division-II South Central Regional Meet.