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PSU cross country competes well in regional championship

Among cross country athletes, Erin Hammeke, undeclared freshman, races during the 2021 NCAA DII Women’s Cross Country Central Region Championship. Hammeke finished the 6k race in 56th with a time of 21:50.09. Dominic Santiago

The Pittsburg State University cross country teams competed at the 2021 NCAA DII Cross Country Central Region Championship. The women’s team finished in eighth place overall and the men’s finished in third place overall. The third-place finish gives the men’s team an automatic qualification for the NCAA DII Cross Country National Championship in Saint Leo, Florida.

The Men’s cross-country team was paced by Matthew Oglesby, red shirt sophomore and management major, and Bryce Grahn, red shirt senior and graduate student in business administration. Oglesby finished the 10k race in 10th place with a time of 14:54.7 while Grahn finished in 11th place with a time of 14:54.7. 

Other members of the team were able to push the pace during the race and produce points for the gorillas that helped to gift the team a spot in the national championship. Connar Southard, Mason Strader, and Diego Contreras finished 25th, 26th, and 27th respectively. 

In this competition, the total points of a team are calculated by adding the placement of all of a team’s competitors together. 

As a result, the team with the smallest number of points wins. With a point total of 92, the gorillas finished 79 points ahead of the fourth-place finisher University of Nebraska-Kearney with 171 points. 

The gorillas were beat by Missouri Southern by 11 points who claimed the second-place spot. Notable placers for the Lions include Ryan Riddle, who placed first, and JP Rutledge, who placed second. 

The first-place finisher, Augustana University, finished with all of their competitors inside the top 20. This gave them a 43-point finish in the 10k run.

The Pittsburg State University Women’s team finished in eighth place overall with 290 points. They raced in a 6k run. The team was paced by Lara Murdock, freshman in elementary education, who finished in 26th place with a time of 21:50.09. Other notable athletes include 43rd place finisher Hannah Honeyman with a time of 22:08.97.

The gorillas were outperformed by other teams such as third place finisher University of Mary, second place finisher University of Minnesota-Duluth, and first place finisher Augustana University.

Individually, Winona claimed the fast time of 20:22.52 by Lindsay Cunningham. Second and third place finishes came from Augustana University Megan Means and Nicolette Schmidt with times of 20:32.45 and 20:53.88 respectively.

Overall, the Pittsburg State University cross country teams were able to compete at a high level and place high among some of the fastest runners in the NCAA DII. 

The PSU men’s cross country will be in action in Saint Leo, Florida at The Abbey Course for the 2021 NCAA DII Men’s Cross Country National Championship on Saturday, November 20th.

In the National Coaches poll for October 27th, the PSU men’s cross-country team was ranked sixth in the nation. 

Among their competition at the national champion will be Augustana University (S.D), ranked fourth in the national poll, Colorado School of Mines, ranked second in the national poll, and Grand Valley State, ranked first in the national poll.

The Gorilla’s national championship roster will include Matthew Oglesby, Bryce Grahn, Connar Southard, Mason Strader, Diego Contreras, Ben Kahnk, and Bryce Kaufmann.

More information about the NCAA DII Men’s Cross country National Championship can be found online (ncaa.com/championships).

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