LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The UMKC men’s and women’s cross country teams battled in tough conditions at the 2017 NCAA Division I Pre-National Meet, hosted by the University of Louisville, on Saturday.
“The pre-national meet was great and competition was what we expected,” head coach Shameika McField shared. “There will always be some good, and not so good meets, and I think we fell in the middle of that. Overall we competed well, and despite the heat and the size of the field, we maintained composure and didn’t fall apart.
“Each race they learn how to compete and how to race. Today gave us an opportunity to learn a little more about ourselves and the sport, but more importantly, we are able to make necessary adjustments to fine-tune for conference championships in two weeks.”
In the men’s 8-kilometer seeded race, Bryce Miller (Ashland, Wis.) led the way for UMKC, finishing 58th overall with a season-opening time of 24:08.3 in a field of 282 runners.
“Personally, pre-nationals was a great opportunity to open up my cross country season in a very competitive atmosphere,” said Miller. “Overall, there were some aspects of the race that our team could have executed better on, but as a whole, we were able to lean on one another for a decent finish. It was nice to take down two of our regional competitors in Missouri and Kansas.”
Joining Miller in to top-half of the event finishers were Jason Fambrough (Raymore, Mo.) and Quinlan Moll (Springfield, Mo.), who finished 132nd and 134th, respectively, with times of 24:45.7 and 24:46.4, respectively.
“In today’s race, we were able to prove that we can compete with some of the best teams in the country,” commented Fambrough. “I know that we surprised a lot of people, but we still feel like we have room for improvement. Our team is incredibly competitive and we are going to keep working hard.”
“Today was about coming out and doing what we needed to do,” shared Moll. “We had some good performances today and beat some good teams, but our main focus was to use this meet to get ready for the conference and regional meets in the next month.”
Marcus Johnson (Nixa, Mo.), Daylan Quinn (Mountain View, Mo.), Nathan Keown (Columbia, Mo.) and Darrien Case (Parkville, Mo.) also competing in the seeded portion for UMKC, helping the Roos to an overall 24th place finish out of 41 teams.
“Today was a mixed bag,” assistant coach Brett Guemmer said. “There were things to be happy about and things we need to still work on. With things not going necessarily the way we wanted, we still found a way to beat all the teams in our region, so that was the best part about today.”
Additionally, a pair of Roos – Josh Sanders (Maryville, Mo.) and Lachlan Moore (Nixa, Mo.) – turned in personal best times in the unseeded men’s race.
On the women’s side, Chandler Carreon (Lake St. Louis, Mo.) finished first for UMKC, clocking in the 23rd-fastest unseeded 6-kilometer time, crossing the line in 21:37.11. Teammates Sarah Fogarty (O’Fallon, Mo.) and Mia Jerman (Ste. Genevieve, Mo.) finished in the top-55 with Carreon, turning in times of 21:51.59 and 22:08.97, respectively.
“Today we needed to go out fast from the gun and that’s what we did,” said Carreon. “Each of us pushed ourselves in the mix and pushed hard to stay in the top group. Even though today wasn’t necessarily the results we were looking for, we learned the importance of teamwork and are motivated to keep working hard for our upcoming conference meet.”
“Today was certainly a grind,” shared Fogarty. “A lot of us took some risks during the race and they either played out well or not so well. Outcomes like today only push us to do better for the next meet, which will be the conference championships. Both teams placed higher than we ever have at the pre-national meet, so although it wasn’t what some of us were expecting, we are still improving.”
As a team, the women’s group – that also included Elizabeth Nolke (Lee’s Summitt, Mo.), Katherine Hanners (Jackson, Mo.) and Megan Mills (Nixa, Mo.) – finished 13th out of 29 groups in a race that featured 282 runners.
“On the women’s side, we probably got out a little faster than we should have,” continued Guemmer. “With that being said, it was good practice to have our ladies get out and get after it.”
The Roos will take two weeks off from competition to gear up for the 2017 WAC Championships, hosted by New Mexico State, on Oct. 28.
– UMKC –