Cross country kicked off the fall season on Oct. 16 when they traveled to Ottumwa, Iowa, to compete in the Indian Hills Invitational. Ever since then, they have shown how competitive they are, and now the women’s team is going to nationals.
Head coach Cody Ingold didn’t expect to have a season this year due to the pandemic. The school decided to resume their season and they were the first sport at Missouri Western to have a season.
“Our administration gave us the green light and fought to give us the opportunity to compete,” Ingold said.
After finding out cross country’s season was back on, Ingold set goals for the men and women’s team.
“Our objective was to make the National Invitational on both sides,” Ingold said
Cross country was able to achieve this goal by having the women’s team qualify for nationals and an individual qualifier for the men’s team.
At the Newman Invitational, the women placed fourth overall with three runners finishing in the top 20. Madison Nash led all Griffons by placing fifth. Megan Gillen finished 14th overall and Allison Goos finished 17th. Their placing at that meet is what allowed them to qualify for nationals
In this upcoming meet, the team is traveling 11 hours to Lubbock, Texas, for the Division II National Invitational.
The women that are competing are Halley Wilmes, Janet Nyamboneka, Jillian Kiefer, Kelsey Cox, Madison Nash, Megan Gillen and Paige Kvale. Riley Gorham is the individual runner for the men’s team.
Ingold is getting his team ready mentally and physically before this meet.
“Throughout the week, we will talk about the competition and course and what our race plan will be,” Ingold said.
Megan Gillen, a senior runner for the women, explains how their coach physically gets them ready for the meet.
“Depending on the day, we’ll run 50 to 60 miles a week”, Gillen said, “The guys usually run like 70 miles.”
This high mileage is beneficial because at the national meet, the women’s team will run a 6K, which is 3.74 miles, while Gorham will run a 10k, which is 6.2 miles.
Before racing, the team arrives two hours early to set up camp and scout the course. After this, the first group to run will start warming up about an hour before the race. Lastly, Ingold meets with the team five minutes before the race and gives final instructions.
Unfortunately, the men’s team didn’t qualify for nationals but they still placed highly in two of their meets this season. At the Indian Hills Invitational, the men came in fourth as a team, and at the Newman Invitational, they came in sixth.