To the shock of many, fall sports are on the verge of returning to Missouri Western.
On Friday, when the men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to the Indian Hills Invitational in Ottumwa, Iowa, they will begin something that many thought was impossible last spring: a fall sports season.
Junior Andrew Wright recounted what it was like to find out they would have a season this year.
“The first initial hearing about it we were like ‘Okay let’s see what’s gonna happen,’” Wright said. “As it grew, much more teams got involved in the MIAA and it just made it more exciting.”
While it is not a full season, as only three meets are currently scheduled, it’s an incredible victory for Missouri Western. Between football and cross country having schedules, fall sports are filling the void that was clearly missed around campus.
That’s not to say this year will still be normal. This time last year, both the men's and women’s team were wrapping up their fourth meet of the season. This year, they still haven’t run one.
Wright explained how the preparation has changed.
“At first we had to take it a little bit slow because we didn’t know if we were racing or not,” Wright said. “We all were excited to get back out and just go grind again.”
As for the teams themselves, the men’s team is looking to improve off their 9th place finish at the MIAA Championship one year ago. Led last year by Wright, freshman Ian Kibet and sophomore Konner Larkin, all three are back and ready to improve with another year of experience. With four freshmen, coming from New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and Blue Springs, Missouri, the relatively young upstart Griffons are ready to prove themselves in this unique season.
The women’s team is looking to improve from a 7th place finish at the MIAA Championships. Like the men’s team, the women were led by two returning runners, Megan Gillen, who placed first overall at the Griffon Invitational, and Kelsey Cox. The difference is that Gillen is a redshirt junior while Cox is a senior. They will be expected to lead their team that also sports four freshmen.
One runner not named is junior Allison Goos. Goos missed all of last year with injury.
Goos said she just wants to get back into form and help her team.
“I am just super excited,” Goos said. “I just want to get faster and stronger, and show I’ve improved throughout the year.”