Oct. 18, the men’s cross-country team won the Missouri Southern Stampede with 53 team points. The women’s team placed ninth overall with 248 team points.
Freshman Lara Murdock placed first out of the PSU women’s team with a time of 17:54 and finished overall at 24th place in the 5k race. Graduate student in business administration Bryce Grahn placed first out of the PSU men’s team with a time of 24:39 and placed fourth overall in the 8k race.
“So we went to Missouri Southern for an 8k,” Gahn said. “For the first mile, we just kind of packed up and we had a game plan with our front six guys. That we were going to run out together and go out pretty controlled. So we wanted to go through the first mile in about a 4:55-5:00 flat. And we went through at about 4:50 so it was pretty hot and then from there kept moving up. We were in a pretty good position team-wise and had a couple of Missouri Southern guys in front of us. So just kind of moved along with them and through miles 2 and 3 we just tried to stay pretty consistent (and) pretty even. Then we got to 5k feeling easy, and then pushed through one more loop.”
Redshirt senior and finance major Diego Contreras placed sixth with a time of 24:53. Redshirt senior and exercise science major Connar Southard placed 11th with a time of 25:03. Redshirt sophomore Matthew Oglesby and management major finished 15th with a time of 25:10. Redshirt Mason Strader and architectural manufacturing management major placed 17th with a time of 25:14.
“(It) felt relaxed, even though we were running super-fast, faster than we planned on running, it felt super easy,” Gahn said. “It’s a rolling course; there’s not really a whole lot of flat parts. Our main thing was to attack the hills and there were a lot of turns and lots of stuff like that. Using any advantages like the downhills. Really just keeping that same pace for the uphill then picking people off in the downhill.”
This was the first time since the meet started 31 years ago that the men’s team has won the cross-country meet.
“So winning was a big step for them (men’s team),” said head distance coach Ben Barrows. “Because they beat (Missouri Southern) a traditional powerhouse in cross country on their home course. And they kind of put the target on their back as conference favorites go.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams have goals of winning the conference championship, something neither team has ever done.
“We’ve still got some work to do because both our women and men have high goals and we’re in a position that those are both possible to achieve,” Barrows said. “To win the conference championship and qualify for nationals. But there are a lot of teams in the mix so we just have to keep working hard and doing our job making sure we give ourselves the best chance possible to perform one day.”
The cross-country teams will compete on Oct. 9 at the Alabama Huntsville Chargers Invite.