Rutledge’s young team claims team title, prepares to host MIAA meet

Jeremy Thomas


With the MIAA Championships approaching, the Missouri S&T Jockling Jacks Invitational capped off the regular season for Missouri Southern men’s cross country. 

The Lions competed against nine other teams and were able to claim the team title at the meet, along with finishing four spots in front of rival Pittsburg State University. 

The key reason the Lions were able to take home the title was that they managed to get four of their runners to finish in the top 11 spots.

“We ran extremely well. I was proud of all my runners, but we still need to work on a few things before conference starts,” Head Coach Tom Rutledge said. 

The Lions were once again led by outstanding freshman Eric Schott, who ran to a second place finish on the 5k course, coming in at 25:29. Teammates Andrew Webster and Jake Benton placed fourth and fifth, Webster finished in 25:52 and Benton followed right behind him at 25:54. Alex Manson came in at No. 11 in a time of 26:06, rounding out the top four Lions to finish in the top 11 of the meet. 

“My guys keep improving and gaining more confidence, they are contenders to win conference, and I always love contenders over pretenders,” Rutledge said.  

He also said that as long as his team does what it is capable of doing, it will we have a great chance to win the conference title this season. The Lions are no strangers to winning conference titles as they have won nine titles in the last 12 years. 

“We always like to try to make a habit of being successful and winning championships,” Rutledge said. “We have to do what is expected of us, the school needs us to win, the pressure is constantly on to win, I love it and embrace it,” Rutledge said. 

He also said that he wants his runners to feel the pressure of being successful because “pressure is a good test to determine a person’s character.”

The Lions will have this week off to get mentally and physically prepared to host the MIAA championship meet on Oct. 22.

“We have one of the best cross country courses in the nation. People love to run on this course,” Rutledge said. “We can use this as a home field advantage because we know the course, but the course is easy to read so it may not be a huge home field advantage for us.”