Men’s, women’s cross-country teams fare well in rainy conditions at Commodore Classic
Junior Karissa Schweizer won the race individually for the women, while the men were led by 14th place finisher Ollie Lockley.
Sep. 17, 2016
The Missouri cross-country team competed in the Commodore Classic on Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee, where the men placed fifth in a 23-team field and the women placed fifth out of 26 teams. Junior Karissa Schweizer finished in first place in the women’s race.
The women, who ran a 5K, were delayed an hour by a thunderstorm in the area, but nonetheless ran well. Battling through soggy terrain, light rain and lots of mud puddles, Schweizer, who was a First Team All-Midwest Region runner in 2015, finished with a time of 16:46, almost 14 seconds ahead of the next-closest finisher. Senior Nicole Mello finished 12th overall with a time of 17:24. The team’s overall average was 17:40, an impressive showing for a group that prides itself on depth.
“Our women raced hard today in some wet and sloppy conditions,” coach Marc Burns said in a press release. “Karissa looked amazing up front for the win and Nicole had a breakthrough race.”
The men, who ran an 8K before the majority of the rain came in, were paced by senior Ollie Lockley, who finished 14th overall with a time of 25:01. His teammates were not far behind him, as all of Mizzou’s top eight varsity runners finished within 70 seconds of each other. With an average time of 25:31, the Tigers had an encouraging and strong day in their first significant long-distance test of the season.
The race was held at Vaughn’s Gap, a course notorious for a steep hill it features on its far east side and many potholes that make up its flatter, far west side. However, the course’s significant amount of tree cover, relatively wide running lanes and large number of straightaways made it a fast course, despite the rain and mud that the women faced. The rain also brought in cooler temperatures than normal for mid-September in Nashville, which helped the Tigers run faster times.
Many Tigers made their season debuts at the Commodore Classic, including Schweizer and redshirt junior Sheldon Keence, who finished with a time of 26:08. Keence was the Tigers’ top finisher in the SEC Championships a year ago, where he took 22nd in a loaded field.
Both squads faced stiff competition in Nashville. The men’s team was second out of six Southeastern Conference teams, and the finished one spot ahead of No. 28 Louisville. The women also finished second out of six SEC teams in a field that included No. 19 Mississippi State and No. 26 Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt took third in the race, while Mississippi State took sixth, one place behind Mizzou.
The women’s team, which received four votes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Women’s Coaches’ Poll this week, will look to break into the top 30 teams in the country for the first time this year in next week’s poll. The men’s team hopes that their performance will help them improve on their No. 11 ranking in the Midwest Region.
The team will race again on Oct. 1 at the Chile Pepper Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Edited by Peter Baugh | email@example.com