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Men’s cross country wins MIAA championship and prepare for regionals

The men’s cross country team poses with the MIAA trophy after winning the MIAA championship confrence on Oct. 23 at Nebraska-Kearney. Image Courtesy of Claire Bruening

The men’s cross country team won the MIAA championship conference. The men’s team won against eleven other teams and the women’s team placed 3rd out of thirteen other teams at Nebraska-Kearny on Oct. 23. 

“We wanted to come away with two trophies. on the men’s side, it was very likely that we would come away with a trophy and win as long as we competed like we have all year,” said head distance coach Ben Barrows. “We wanted to bring down the women’s trophy as well but in the competition there, there were about five teams that had a chance to win it and we came away with third. It was a good day but not a great day.”

The men’s team raced an 8k, roughly 4.97 miles. 

“It felt good, we went in with the goal to win, and anything individual didn’t matter as long as we won. About one mile in we saw coach Ben Barrows, he told us ‘You guys are good, you’re doing good.’ so we knew he was counting bodies and so he told us to maintain that position for as long as possible,” said graduate student in business administration Bryce Grahn. “So, for about a mile on I knew we had it won just from the way he was talking to us. So, it was just maintaining our position for the remainder of the race.”

Going into the race the men’s team felt confident about beating the competition, according to Grahn. 

“We beat Missouri Southern both times we faced them and so we kind of knew that we just had to do the same thing we had done. We didn’t have to do anything special we just had to do what had to be done,” Grahn said. “We knew that we had the better team, so it was just really showing up and doing what we’re supposed to do.”

Both the men and the women’s teams will compete on Nov. 6 in Joplin, MO for the regional championship.

“We have a regional meet on Saturday,” Barrows said. “The ‘get the job done’ goal is to qualify for nationals which are the top three teams automatically qualify. The men would really like to come away with the regional title as well although in the real third is no different than first. Both get you to the national meet.”

In preparation for the upcoming meet, the team is focusing on the small things. 

“Staying healthy, we have nothing really fitness-wise that we can really build,” Grahn said. “We can’t really build any more fitness, we just are where we are. So we just want to make sure it’s the little things. Getting enough sleep, eating, hydrating, those things.” 

The men’s team is currently undefeated and is the first team to ever win the MIAA championship conference since joining.

“The men’s team is unlike any other group of people I’ve coached before,” Barrows said. “They’re determined to get the job done no matter what. They’re true competitors so whatever it takes to win that’s what they want to do. They’ve been a lot of fun to coach, they’re really setting the bar high for future PSU teams.”

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