Race toward the top
Michael Bauer | Sports Reporter
The Pittsburg State cross country teams recovered from a disappointing showing at the Roy Girak Invitational with a strong performance at the Jackling Invitational on Saturday, Oct 6. The women’s team finishe
d second while the men finished third at the meet in Rolla, Mo.
“It was a lot better than the week before,” said Russ Jewett, head coach. “We kind of stunk it up a little bit up in Minnesota, and it’s great to see these kids bounce back and have a more competitive performance. It’s good, positive momentum, so I was pleased.”
Mid-Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) conference foes Southwest Baptist and Missouri Southern attended the meet. The PSU women were able to edge out MSSU by a single point, finishing with 71 points, but SBU won the meet with a team total of 60 points. The reason for the weekend’s success was a better approach by the entire team.
“We approached the meet a little differently in terms of how we raced. Primarily, we did better in the middle of the race at Rolla in terms of focusing and concentrating and just being mentally tough. We did a better job,” Jewett said.
The Pittsburg State men’s team was led by redshirt freshman Devon Young, who crossed the finish line in 25:14, good for sixthplace. Teammate Ethan Silovsky finished 11th with a time of 25:35.
MSSU took care of business, winning the meet with 26 points. SBU came in second with 40 points while Pittsburg State was left in third with 85 total points. MSSU had four runners finish in the top 10, setting them up for the meet title.
The Gorillas now enter the championship portion of their season with the next race being the MIAA Championships in Maryville, Mo., at Northwest Missouri State University.
Both men’s and women’s teams have suffered injuries this season, hurting their chances of winning conference, but Jewett says both teams are still eager for the meet. As far as he is concerned, the season has just started again for both squads.
“This is a tough conference for the women’s and the men’s divisions and neither team is like the favorite going in because of the injuries both teams have suffered,” Jewett said. “I don’t think that anybody out there would think that we would be the ones to win it in the women’s race, even though we are the returning conference champions. Certainly not the men, we were fourth last year, but that doesn’t mean we are not excited by it. This is the first important competition. The only ones that count historically are the conference, the regionals and the nationals, so really, the season is just starting with what is important.”
The MIAA Championship will be Saturday, Oct. 20, in Maryville, Mo. And Jewett knows there isn’t anything else more prominent on the runners’ minds.
“They’ve trained all summer and all fall and have been racing all fall to get ready for this championship, so they are excited,” Jewett said.