Pittsburg State University cross country and track and field athlete Piper Misse was named the fall female student athlete of the year.
“It is almost unbelievable for me to receive this award,” Misse said. “At Pitt State, there are so many deserving student athletes who apply themselves to all areas of life. I just feel fortunate to have them as examples to look up to.”
The student athlete of the year awards, given out by the MIAA, were given in lieu of the annual Ken B. Jones Award due to the pandemic. The MIAA’s COVID-19 Task Force recommended an award that recognized student athletes from the fall but also student athletes from sports in the spring whose season was cut short due to the pandemic.
“At first, I was in shock and disbelief at the season being cancelled,” Misse said. “While we certainly respect the need for public safety measures, we could not help but be disappointed after looking forward to outdoor all year. It helped me to focus on other areas of life and go back to running for enjoyment and fitness as opposed to prepping for competition.”
Last year, Misse earned her second individual MIAA Championship and helped the women’s cross-country team capture their third consecutive MIAA team title. Misse finished the six-kilometer race at the competition held in MSSU in 21 minutes and 23.9 seconds, allowing the team to beat Central Missouri by six points for the championship.
Misse became a four-time All-MIAA performer in cross country from 2016 until 2019. Throughout her athletic career, Misse has earned many achievements, awards and titles. She placed 18th as a freshman in 2016, claimed the 2017 MIAA title and placed sixth as a junior the following year.
On the track and field side, Misse is also an accomplished athlete. She earned a pair of MIAA titles during the 2019-2020 indoor season by winning the three thousand meter and five-thousand-meter distance races to help the team win their fourth straight MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.
In 2019, Misse earned USTFCCCA All-Central Region cross country honors for the third consecutive year and helped Pitt State to make three straight appearances in the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship.
Furthermore, Misse was a 2018-2019 Google Cloud NCAA Division II Academic All-America selection and is currently under consideration for that selection for this year.
During her four years at PSU, Misse earned the MIAA Academic Excellence Award all four years, was a four-year MIAA Scholar Athlete and was a four-year member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll.
According to Misse, her coaches have helped her a lot during her time as an athlete at Pitt State.
“Someone who has pushed me a lot is our assistant coach, Ben Barrows,” Misse said. “He pours countless hours of energy into developing us as competitors and will do anything for anyone. He is selfless, and a great example of continuing to remain fit and passionate about running after college. Also, our head Coach Jewett has always been a resource and inspired us to challenge ourselves mentally and physically.”
Others helped Misse along during her athletic career as well as her education.
“I would just like to extend an enormous thank you to the people at Pitt State who have uplifted and encouraged me in the classroom and in sports,” Misse said. “I couldn’t have accomplished anything without their gracious help and inspiration.”