Curtis Meyer, Reporter
Both men’s and women’s cross country went to Joplin on Saturday Nov. 5., to compete in the MIAA Championships, running against other teams in the conference. Womens took home the gold, placing first overall, while men took third.
For the women’s team, this was their fourth MIAA title in the last 5 years, with the only year without a win being last year when the University of Nebraska Kearney won. Pitt State women placed three runners in the top 5, with Jentri Alderson third, Lara Murdock fourth, and Marissa Dick at fifth.
Compiling 51 points total, the next closest team was Nebraska Kearney, who was 16 points behind Pitt State at 67. Running five kilometers, all three placed at or below 21 minutes, with the fastest time of the entire race going to Caroline Cunningham from Northwest Missouri State.
All three girls earned All-MIAA Honors for finishing in the top 5. For Marissa Dick, she chalks down her performance to good preparation before the race.
“I’d say from last year it was big step, big improvement for me. Like coach was saying, all the workouts we did from last week to this point, it was all perfect. We were ready physically, and just being able to run with my teammates and it just felt so fun and confident and calm, and ready to bring it back for the team. We talked about all week that we have to do everything right, especially eating well, getting electrolytes, doing all that, and just listening to coach and trusting him. It felt like the perfect day, we all were packed up the entire race. Everything that could’ve gone right went right for us today,” said Dick.
The men also had a good performance, placing third overall, with 81 points. Ahead of them was Missouri Southern at 41 points and Nebraska Kearney at 68 points.
Three runners placed in the top ten for Pitt State, with Matthew Oglesby placing third, Diego Contreras placing fifth, and Braden Zaner placing tenth individually.
Despite not winning the MIAA title, coach Ben Barrows still believes that men’s team has the potential to go farther and to build off of.
“It wasn’t what we wanted to achieve today, but we knew it was very realistic and those other teams were very good, and we’re a little bit off. To be honest, even if we had a great day, it was still possible that we weren’t going to win. We had some strong individual performances still. Just to get into the top ten is a tall order, so to have three runners do that shows that we’re in a good place,” said Barrows.
Both men’s and women’s will look to create more success in a couple of weeks on November 19th when they go back to Joplin for regionals. The top three teams of regionals should move on to nationals, with the possibility of the fourth or fifth place team qualifying.
For Contreras, the next couple of weeks will be spent preparing for regionals. A 6th year senior, Contreras is experienced and knows what to expect.
“There’s no secret formula for this, we are going to keep doing what we’ve been doing because Ben has done a good job getting us ready. At this point it’s all about sharpening up. I’m a 5th year, I guess a 6th year senior, so I’ve been working at this a long time so I’m ready,” said Contreras.
When asked how they felt representing Pitt State at regionals, both Contreras and Dick were proud and happy to be here in Pittsburg.
“Of course, I love Pitt State,” said Dick
“I wouldn’t want to wear anything else across my chest,” said Contreras.