By Paige Carswell
Nov. 6 is the day the cross country teams are preparing for. When they travel to Kansas Wesleyan University, the men will be fighting for their 31st consecutive championship, and the women will be battling back after taking third in the meet last year.
But, until then, they’ve got some more practice to put in.
The team has two meets in all of October, including traveling to Oklahoma Baptist University Oct. 9 for the OBU Invitational.
“We only have two meets before conference—OBU and our home meet,” said Jordan Unruh, nursing senior. “Both are very vital in preparation for conference.”
“I think we’re focused on our national ranking, and trying to have the highest national ranking we’ve ever had,” said Carrington Crum, elementary education junior. “We’re just trying to establish the real identity of our team.”
The men were ranked 24th in last week’s National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics poll.
The teams are coming off of a weekend in which both placed in the top 10 at the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree.
The men finished fourth in the college division. Andrew Topham, biology senior, led the men, finishing in 12th. Conner Drendel, elementary education junior, finished two seconds behind him in 14th. Colton McNinch, biochemistry freshman, finished in 20th, and Frank Adelman, psychology sophomore, and Crum rounded out the top five runners in 23rd and 56th place.
“For the condition of the course, we did pretty good,” Crum said. “We finished five places higher than last year. It was a really good meet.”
The women finished ninth in the college division. They were led by Amy Pierson, nursing senior, who turned in a time of 18:28.72 in the 5000 meter race to finish in second in the college women’s division. The university women’s race is 6000 meters, and the women are placed separately. Pierson hasn’t been beaten yet by an NAIA runner so far this season, and her efforts awarded her both the NAIA runner of the week and KCAC runner of the week.
The next four runners were within one minute and two seconds of each other. Jenniffer Hendrixson, nursing junior, finished in 40th. Unruh followed in 46th. Sydnee Nelson, biology sophomore, was 73rd, and Larrissa Vasquez, business management senior, finished in 90th.
Unruh said that the meet was a positive experience. “This past weekend was pretty good overall for the team, Amy ran well as always and our next set of girls closed the gaps between one another.”
“I feel like we’ve made huge improvements from meet to meet,” Crum said.
Paige Carswell is a senior majoring in journalism. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.