IOWA CITY, Iowa – The UMKC men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to Iowa City, Iowa, as they vie for the Midwest Regional title and a spot in the NCAA National Championships on Friday morning.
“I’m really excited for both teams to compete at the cross country regionals,” head coach Shameika McField said. “We are physically prepared and must remain mentally tough as competition in the Midwest region is stiff. Our men’s team made history at the WAC conference championships by winning its first conference title in UMKC history, so I think the overall team confidence and excitement will carry over. Though our women’s team struggled with their disappointing fifth place finish at the WAC Championships, it is motivation going into this meet for our women to better their performances.”
The men’s squad enters regionals having won its first WAC conference title in school history after edging the favored Utah Valley Wolverines by a single point, thanks in part to three runners earning first-team All-WAC honors. Bryce Miller (Ashland, Wis.) led the Roos and captured the individual crown in the 8K with a time of 25:03, while teammates Jason Fambrough (Raymore, Mo.) and Quinlan Moll (Springfield, Mo.) placed fifth and seventh, respectively. James Barnett (Blue Springs, Mo.) finished 16th and Marcus Johnson (Nixa, Mo.) placed 17th to round out the scoring and help secure the title for UMKC.
“This season has gone exceptionally well for most,” McField said. “With Bryce being named the 2016 WAC XC Male Athlete of the Year, this summer making Olympic Trials finals in the steeple chase then later competing for the USA at the NACAC-U23 in El Salvador, it inspired the other team members to work harder and give more effort than the staff has ever seen. They have replaced all doubts with all determination.”
The women’s team will look to Chandler Carreon (Lake St. Louis, Mo.) to lead the charge at regionals. She picked up first-team All-WAC honors at the conference championships with her fifth place finish.
“Chandler is small in stature but an amazing and tough young lady,” McField said. “Each year I see a different level of toughness in her when she is competing. She is becoming a student of the sport and I believe her development will be big this year.”
The women’s 6K race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. CT, with the men’s 10K race following at noon.
“We are excited to see what we can do this weekend,” assistant coach Brett Guemmer said. “Both teams are looking the best they’ve looked going into the regional meet and are ready to run fast. Both teams are looking to improve on last year’s team finish.”
The top-four teams from each race will head to the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana for the National Championships.