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Cross country qualifies for nationals after two top three finishes  

Alyssa Tyler editor in chief  

The cross country team made a short trip to Joplin Mo. On Nov. 4 to compete at the 2023 NCAA Division II Central Regional. The men’s team placed 2nd overall while the women’s team took third with 128 points.  

“We had a race plan going ahead and we executed that pretty much perfectly but there were some teams that did better than I expected them to,” head cross country coach Ben Barrows said. “And they ended up making it pretty close for us. Being top three of it, the women only got third by 14 points over 4th. You men. And then. On the men’s side, both Northwest Missouri and Washburn were pretty darn close to us. About like 13 or 14 back points back a piece as well.” 

Redshirt senior Matthew Oglesby crossed the line with a seventh place finish for 30:14.00 in the 1-kilometer race. Redshirt senior Mason Strader crossed the finish line with a time of 30:57.47 securing 15th place. Then redshirt junior Braden Zaner claimed 15th overall with a time of 31:01.53/ 

For the women, freshman Hanna Gibson was the first to cross the finish line for Pitt State. With a time of 21:18.89 for fifteenth place overall. Redshirt Junior Kate Dawson took 19th place after crossing the finish line with a time of 21:26.92. Redshirt junior Marissa Dick placed 23rd with time of 21:35.22. 

Looking towards the Nationals Championship, Barrows had goals in mind for both teams. Such as leaving the meet with the highest finishes in recent history.  

“We would like to come away with the highest finishes we’ve ever had in recent years anyways,” Barrows said. “The best the men have ever placed the nationals is 15th. We’ve done that on a couple occasions, most recently did it 2021 and we feel good that if we perform well we can do better than that. And then maybe even sneak out a top ten competition on the women’s side. I also feel like on a really good day that we can get up to around 13 top 10. It might be a little bit of a stretch, but you never know. We might be prepared for a great day, but. )We’re) looking to really have our best put together. Our best race in the season as a team and whatever we end up place wise. I think we can walk away satisfied if we finish with our best meet.” 

Both teams will make another short trip to Joplin Mo. On Nov. 18 to close out their final race of the season.  

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