CC teams prepare for Stampede

Jeremy Thomas

With a week off of competition, the Lions were able to get an extra week to prepare for their much anticipated home meet, the Southern Stampede.  

The Lions have faced some injuries on the season, as four young runners have been hurt or ill, but Head Coach Patty Vavra says the team still had a good week of practice.

“I am seeing improvement over the last week,” she said. “And the week off really benefited my team. We just have to go out and run a good race now.”

The Lions are coming off of what Vavra thought was a lackluster meet last week, but she mentioned how excited her runners are to compete on their home turf against great competition.

“We can take giant strides with our home meet, having a successful meet could give us a lot of momentum for the rest of the season,” Vavra said.

“This team is still evolving and coming together as a group. They realize the preparation it takes to compete at the college level and are handling it well.”

One thing that Vavra has continued to stress to her team is the need to be tighter as a pack and close the gap from their top two finishers to their third, fourth and fifth runners.

The Lions get a chance to host one of the more prestigious cross country meets in the nation tomorrow. Close to 50 high school and college teams will make their way to Joplin and try to manage their way through the 5k course at Missouri Southern. Top ranked Division-II schools, along with Division-I schools, will be part of the competitive college field.

“This is a great home opener for us, there will be excitement in the air for my runners, and hometown fans pulling for them, which is always helpful,” Vavra said.  

She also mentioned that the Southern Stampede is a big enough meet that it can be a mirror image of what bigger meets such as conference championship, and national championships will be like.