One last run
PSU runner aiming for a good final year
Michael Bauer | sports editor
Adam Volkert says the 2012 cross country season slowly began turning into a disaster for him. Though no medical injury was ever listed, Volkert struggled to run at his full potential.
“I don’t remember what it was exactly, it was something, it wasn’t going to be a good year so I decided to red shirt,” Volkert, senior in physical education, said. “I trained for most of the year but toward the middle of the season we saw it wasn’t going to be worth it.”
Volkert added that he made the decision after a talk with Russ Jewett, head coach. He continued to train with the team but did not compete.
Pitt and the past
After finishing his high school cross country career with a third-place finish at the 2008 Missouri State Class 4A State Cross Country meet, Volkert made a spectacular debut season at Pitt State.
In 2009 he was an All-MIAA performer with a 15th-place finish at the 2009 MIAA Championships and he placed 23rd overall in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional, helping the Gorillas to an 18th-place showing at the National Championship meet.
His sophomore season for Pitt State featured similar results with another All-MIAA performance in a time of 24:38 at conference, followed by a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Division II Regional and he was 56th at nationals with a time of 31:58 and the lone qualifier for Pitt State.
In his junior season in 2011, Volkert became team leader in all of his races and earned All-MIAA honors with a second-place finish at conference.
Jewett says he may consistently be a leader on the team during races but he is a leader in more ways than one.
“He unifies the guys,” Jewett said. “He’s a unifying leader, he’s not a rah-rah type. He leads by example but he really just reaches out to everybody on the team.”
Volkert ended the 2011 season with a 36th-place finish at the National Championships with a time of 31:59 and because he was among the top 40 individuals, he received All-American honors.
2011 also saw Volkert being named to the MIAA runner of the week twice.
The 2013 season will see changes.
“I’ve got pretty high expectations this year,” Volkert said. “I hope me and my teammates do well.”
After the hardships of 2012, Volkert says he isn’t nervous about having the same struggles again this year.
“There’s not any extra pressure,” he said. “My teammates and I push each other and you just take it day by day and things will fall into place.”
He added that as he prepares for his final year at Pittsburg State he hopes to be one of the better guys and help his team win a conference title and continue on to nationals.
Last year the Gorillas entered the season picked as the favorites to win the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) conference. Injuries then began to take their toll on the team and the Gorillas missed out on the
“Last year we had some talented guys, but it wasn’t all there,” Volkert said. “It wasn’t a super successful season by any means.”
Part of Volkert’s high expectations are drawn from the success of his 2013 track and field season. He had several decent performances throughout the spring, one of which included him coming close to breaking the school record in the 10,000-meter run.
“We were a little cautious in the spring, but he did awesome at our conference meet and helped us win conference (in track).” Jewett said.
Post Pitt State
Volkert is set to graduate this December and plans to become a physical education teacher at the high school level.
He says he hopes to coach cross country in the future and will also continue to run.
“I probably won’t be putting as many miles,” Volkert said, “but I’d like to do a marathon just to say that I’ve done it.”