CC teams prepare for Stampede

Jeremy Thomas

Last week the Lions had the week off to get themselves mentally and physically prepared for a big home meet tomorrow.

“I ran my guys pretty hard last week, they may be a little tired this week, but they are ready to put on a good show for the home crowd this Saturday,” Head Coach Tom Rutledge said. “If they listen to me and do what I tell them to do, they will be successful.”

“These are a good group of guys, I believe in them and believe they will have a successful season this year.”

The Lions will play host to 1,700 runners from 50 high schools, and colleges. Top ranked college teams from both Division-I and Division-II will be in competition at the Southern Stampede, along with a few junior college schools as well.

“This will be a very competitive meet, it always is. And I get to see what my team is made of and where they stack up against good competition,” Rutledge said.  

The Lions are young this year, with a total of 10 underclassmen on the 12-man roster

“They are showing good chemistry early in the season, they’re learning how to communicate well, and learning how to pack up tighter and run as a team,” Rutledge said.

Rutledge also mentioned that he likes to challenge his runners, and wants to see how they can adapt to challenges he throws at them.

“I keep turning up the volume and they keep listening. I think they will be good for the rest of the season, as long as they stay focused and listen to my advice,” he said.

If the Lions can have a successful home meet, Rutledge believes it will help build even more confidence on the team and give it a momentum boost for upcoming races thereafter.

“We may lose at our meet, but I can promise you it will not be because of lack of effort. These are good kids that know their place and want to win,” he said.

Rutledge also wanted to point out that the Stampede is a win-win for him, Southern, and the city of Joplin.

“I always want people to know that the T-shirts that we will be selling at the meet, we will be donating portions of the money to the Southern tornado disaster assistant and relief fund.”