CC to compete at border wars

Junior Kimi Shank runs at the University of Arkansas meet on Sept. 5. Shank finished 6th.

Junior Kimi Shank runs at the University of Arkansas meet on Sept. 5. Shank finished 6th.

After a strong showing at the Oklahoma State University Jamboree, junior Kimi Shank was named the MIAA Cross Country Runner of the Week for the second time this season.

“She’s running extremely well,” said Women’s Cross Country Coach Patty Vavra. “She’s a competitor.”

Shank finished 11th in the meet, and was the top Division II performer. She finished the 6k course with a time of 21:28.

“She had a great second half of the race,” Vavra said. “This was the only 6k course we will run before our conference and we responded well.”

Senior Kara Eckard finished 54th with a time of 22:50. Junior Ashley Bunch finished with a time of 23:28, to earn an 88th place finish. Bunch was followed by senior Kari Fritchie, and sophomores Victoria Kline, Olga Bulgurova, and Silvia Pineda.

“This meet was very challenging,” Vavra said. “We’ve had some tough practice weeks, but despite that we ran well.”

The women finished 11th overall, placing ahead of teams such as, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, and Division I Oral Roberts. Southern was the top Division II team.

Southern still has not run freshmen MaKenzie Seidel and Allison Benkert.

“We may not see them all year,” Vavra said. “We’re really going to depend on our upperclassmen.

For the men’s team, junior Brennan Benkert was the first Lion across the finish line. Benkert finished 46th with a time of 25:21.

“He’s ‘steady-eddy,'” said Men’s Cross Country Coach Tom Rutledge. “He does what I say to do and he’s running at a good pace. He is a good person for the freshmen to learn from.”

Freshman Jarrko Jarvenpaa covered the 8k race with a time of 26:00 to earn a 51st place finish. He was followed by freshman Aki Nummela who finished 58th.

Nummela finished the race in a time of 26:11. Freshman Derek Mendell finished 91st (27:10) and was followed by freshmen Shawn Goebel and Deric Kimery.

“We have got to have our freshmen up there,” Rutledge said. “It’s very imperative.”

The men’s team also finished in 11th place.

“We did OK,” Rutledge said. “It’s a big meet. We usually never do our greatest at this meet. We’re at the peak of our season, running 90 miles a week.”

The teams will run tomorrow at the Missouri/Illinois Border Wars in Edwardsville, Ill.

The Lions will not run freshmen Aki Nummela and Jarrko Jarvenpaa. Senior Dustin Dixon will not run either.

“He is training,” Rutledge said. “It’s late in the season and we have to decide whether or not we want to use a year of his eligibility. He’s trying hard. He has his good days and bad days.”

The University of Central Missouri, Truman, Pitt State, and Emporia State University will be among some of the schools running in the meet.

“We’re going to run a controlled race in order to train our freshmen,” Rutledge said. “Our whole season depends on them. They are improving, but the question is whether or not they are improving quick enough.”