Women’s Cross Country tops conference, regional rankings to start 2010 season

The Missouri southern women’s cross country team is coming off an outstanding season from last year, which featured another regional title, making it three in a row for the Lions. They were also able to claim a handful of All-MIAA runners as well. The Lions’ successful campaign last season has them sitting atop of this year’s preseason regional ranking as the No. 1 team. As far as National ranking goes the Lions have been able to place themselves in the top 10, as they are the eighth best team in Division-II cross country.

With the Lions having such a high National ranking, it has actually benefited not only themselves but the rest of the conference as well.  Since Missouri Southern State University has been ranked high nationally, it has allowed another MIAA conference member a chance to qualify for nationals this season. Though the Lions are ranked number one in the region, they will have to fill in some big shoes of All-America runners from last season.

Out of the twelve runners that make up this year’s team, half of them are freshmen. There are, however, three key returners that could help the team repeat as champions. Seniors Olga Bulgurova, Silvia Pineda and Ashley Siler are the veterans on the team, and look to continue their All-MIAA status from last season. Ashley Siler not only achieved All-MIAA status last season, she also broke the MSSU 6k school record with a time of 20 minutes 43.60 seconds vaulting her to All-American status as well.

Silvia Pineda commented on how the upcoming season will be for her.

“I want to be able to be at my peak towards the end of the season, by achieving this I know I will have to go hard in practice and stay positive,” she said.

“I believe cross country is one of the purest of team sports so we will have to work hard every day,” Vavra said. “The women will have to push themselves everyday at practice and meets, and gel together as a team”.

With only two weeks of practice under their belt, the women’s cross-country team has to gear up for their first meet of the season, at the University of Arkansas today.  

“We get a chance to look at ourselves, get an opportunity to race early, and use the race as a test,” Vavra said.  

MSSU fans will get a chance to see their lions in action at their first home meet of the season on Sep. 18 in the Southern Stampede.