The Missouri Western cross country team headed to Emporia over the weekend to compete in the MIAA conference meet. The women’s team placed eighth while the men’s team placed 11th.
Sophomore Megan Gillen has been great all season, and she saved her best for the conference meet. Gillen finished 17th with a career best 23:08 in the 6k. She placed 22 spots higher than she did a year ago.
“Coach Ingold has been preparing us for conference for weeks,” Gillen said. “All of the tough workouts and long tempo runs definitely helped me to feel stronger in the race and more prepared.”
Coach Ingold is very proud of Gillen and the work she put in to get here.
“Megan continues to work hard day in and day out and be a leader of the women’s team,” Ingold said. “She ran a PR on a tough course. She does everything I ask and continues to ask questions of what she can do to be better.”
Sophomore Kelsey Cox was the next Griffon to cross the finish line. Cox came in 24th with a time of 23:27. Rounding out the top three was sophomore Allison Goos who finished 41st with a time of 23:54. The women finished with an average time of 24:02.
Although the eighth-place finish was a one place improvement from a season ago, the women were not satisfied with their final placing and expect to be even better at regionals.
“We were disappointed initially at the final standings,” Gillen said. “It is something we are going to just need to learn from and use to fuel our fire. Next year, we return everyone, so we will continue to just get better and better.”
Although the men finished 11th, the same place they finished last year, their average time improved by nearly a minute and a half. The men had an average time of 27:48 in the 8k which is a testament to the team’s growth and how tough this conference is.
“It’s a competitive conference,” Ingold said. “Six of the eight men didn’t run this race last year.”
The top three male runners for the Griffons consists of first time runners. Sophomore Riley Gorham continues to lead the men’s team. Gorham finished 34th with a time of 27:01. Freshman Andrew Wright finished 46th with a time of 27:29, and junior Brandon Colnor was not far behind finishing 51st with a time if 27:47.
Now both teams have two weeks to prepare before they head to Joplin, Missouri, and compete in the NCAA Central Regional.