Women’s CC qualifies for Nationals

From the beginning of the season the Missouri Southern women’s cross country team had one main goal this season, to make it to the National Championship meet.

With a third place showing at the regional meet Saturday, the Lions were able to qualify for the National Championship meet, and achieve their main goal they set for themselves months ago. “This is the epicenter of college athletes to make it to a national championship,” Head Coach Patty Vavra said.

According to Vavra, the main reason the team has qualified for nationals is due to the runners’ effort of overcoming adversity and learning how to gel together as a unit.

“They believed that they could make it to nationals at the start of the season, they just went out there this season and made it happen,” she said.

For four runners on the team this is their last cross country race of their college careers. Seniors Silvia Pineda, Ashley Siler, Olga Bulgurova, and Victoria Kline will end their careers here at Southern at the national championships in Louisville, Ky.

“These seniors have helped shape this program,” Vavra said. “And have contributed to the success that follows the cross country team here at Missouri Southern, I hope we can send these ladies off on a good note.”

The Lions will look to feed off of their momentum that they built for themselves after placing third at regionals.

“The young ladies were ecstatic to qualify for the national championship meet,” Vavra said.

The Lions were able to run close together as a pack, allowing the team to run themselves into the National Championship meet. A variety of Lions were able to place in the Top-25, with senior Silvia Pineda leading the charge for the Lions.

Pineda raced to a sixth-place finish with a time of 22:38.47. Sophomore Marlee Tegenkamp had the team’s second best finish as she ran to a 12th place finish in a time of 22:54.29 seconds. Freshmen Rachel Schrader rounded out the team’s top three performers as she would finish in 25th place with a time of 23:37.02 seconds.

“I thought the team performed very well, they showed great team effort and really pulled together as a team,” Vavra said. “I wanted them to go out and run the race with confidence and pack together tight, they did just that.”

The Lions will now be getting prepared to travel to Louisville, Ky. for the 2010 NCAA Division-II national meet tomorrow.