The Maneater

Previewing Mizzou cross-country’s chances heading into NCAA Midwest regional meet

The men and women’s teams run right into the challenge of Regionals against stout competition.

The Mizzou cross country team practices at the Audrey J. Walton Track Stadium on Sep. 13, 2016.

Both the Missouri men and women’s cross-country teams will compete at the NCAA Midwest Regional, held Friday, Nov. 11 in Iowa City, Iowa.

It has been a successful season for the Tigers; both teams have recorded many solid finishes in the outdoor season course, including two top-three finishes, most notably a third-place finish at the Southeastern Championships Oct. 29 by the women’s team.

In the SEC Championships, junior Karissa Schweizer stole the show in the women’s 6,000-meter race by capturing the individual victory. For the third time in the 2016 season, Schweizer won a race, something she said was a testament to her training in Columbia.

“It was one of those moments that all of the hard work in practice goes towards,” Schweizer said. “I’ve been wanting a moment like that since I came to Columbia, and that made it even more rewarding crossing the finish line.”

Though she captured a victory at the Oct. 1 Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival on the same course, Schweizer admitted there were a bit of nerves involved headed into the SEC Championships.

“I was going to be proud with however I did, but I just went out there knowing that it could be anyone’s day and that I had a chance and I was going to take that chance at the end,” Schweizer said.

Headed into regionals, Mizzou women currently hold the No. 4 ranking in the Midwest Region in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Regional Rankings, while the men are ranked No. 8.

For the women’s side, the Tigers will be looking for strong performances from more than just Schweizer. Also earning All-SEC first team honors was junior Jamie Kempfer, who crossed the finish line fifth overall with a personal-record time of 20:43; Missouri will look for more of the same at Regionals.

As for the men, the Tigers will need a big performance from senior Drew White. The senior recorded a 14th-overall finish at the SEC Championships, leading the Tiger men to a sixth-overall finish in the tournament. Senior Ollie Lockley, redshirt sophomore Zach Cook and redshirt freshman Michael Widmann all recorded solid performances, finishing 23rd, 43rd and 46th, respectively.

The Tigers will need a total team contribution from each of their standouts at the SEC Championships to contend at regionals. Notable competition for the Tigers at the meet include rival Kansas, along with host-school Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri State, Creighton, Oklahoma and 2015 champion, Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State swept both the men’s and women’s team championships in last year’s regionals held in Lawrence, Kansas. All three of the top finishers at last year’s regionals for both the men and women’s races are set to return in 2016.

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