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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Karissa Schweizer builds a bright future for Mizzou women’s cross-country

After capturing her third national title in track and field, Schweizer will look to bring Mizzou women’s cross-country its first team national championship.

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Maneater File Photo

In November, it will be the one-year anniversary of rising senior Karissa Schweizer’s first national title. She captured her NCAA cross-country championship with a time of 19:41.6 in the 5,000-meter race at the national championship course in Terre Haute, Indiana. She followed up her first title with two more, the 5,000-meter indoor and outdoor national titles during her track and field campaign.

After winning her third national title at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, at the national outdoor championships, Schweizer became the fourth female runner in NCAA history to win the distance triple crown, which includes the NCAA cross-country title and the indoor and outdoor 5,000-meter titles in track and field.

Her latest national championship win tied her with J’den Cox for the most individual national championships in Missouri history at three.

Schweizer then competed in the USA track and field championships, where she faced both collegiate and professional athletes in the 5,000-meter run. She finished fourth with a time of 15:18.69 but was the top collegiate athlete in the event.

If either pro runners Molly Huddle, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2006, or Shannon Rowbury,who graduated from Duke University in 2007, drop out of the 5,000-meter run at the world championships, Schweizer will compete in the event as an alternate.

Schweizer and redshirt junior Jamie Kempfer are set to headline the Tigers’ strong returning corps for the 2017 cross-country season. In addition to her All-American showing at last year’s cross-country national championships, Kempfer finished as an All-American in the 10,000-meter run during the track and field season. Her improvement has given the Tigers two elite runners and a nationally recognized one-two punch to lead the team next season.

A strong incoming freshman class and more championship experience for Schweizer and Kempfer should make the team a fierce competitor for first place next season.

The Tigers’ first goal will be to win the SEC championship meet. Last year, the team finished third behind Arkansas and Mississippi. Schweizer won the individual title and Kempfer finished fifth, but the team had no one else in the top 35.

Arkansas and Mississippi have both lost top runners to graduation, making the Tigers one of the deeper teams in the SEC. After the conference season is complete, the team will look to improve its 16th place finish in the national championship meet, which will be held Nov. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky.

_Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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