Jarvenpaa finishes 99 of 182

Jarkko Jarvenpaa has completed his career as a distance runner at Missouri Southern State University.

Through a few inches of snow, the senior was able to finish 99 out of 182 runners with a time of 32:45.

“Conditions weren’t good, but naturally conditions weren’t good for anybody,” Head Coach Tom Rutledge said.

Jarvenpaa started the race strongly, keeping with the top 10 racers in the first mile.

Soon he settled back and, due to the conditions, was unable to catch back up.

“Jarkko made a mistake,” Rutledge said.  “You can’t make a mistake at that level.  If you make a mistake at that level, it’s over because everybody’s strong.”

Expectations were high for the Finnish runner going into the meet.

Last week, Rutledge said that he thought Jarkko could become an All-American.

A feat achieved by finishing in the Top-40 at the National meet.

Obviously, Jarvenpaa fell short of that goal, and Rutledge may know why.

“Not having his teammates around him to bring him along,” Rutledge said.  “He was out there by himself.”

No matter the finish, Rutledge and the rest of the Cross Country team must now look forward to the Indoor Track & Field season

The runners, though, are getting a much-needed break at the moment before heading into that season.

“My guys are trashed right now,” Rutledge said.  “It’s been a long season for them.”

A surprising end to a surprising season simply brings excitement for next season.

Rutledge is already on the recruiting trail, and he hopes next season brings the Lions back to cross country glory.