Schweizer, Missouri cross-country fares well against nation’s best at Pre-Nationals Invitational

The women took 12th and the men placed 13th in final regular season race before championship season.

Led by juniors Karissa Schweizer and Drew White, the Missouri’s women’s and men’s cross-country teams finished 12th and 13th, respectively, at the Indiana State University Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Saturday. Schweizer ran her 6-kilometer race in 20:14 to finish fourth, and White finished the 8K in 24:37 to finish 35th.

The invitational, which featured 42 of the nation’s best women’s cross-country teams and 40 elite men’s teams, was the final regular-season race for the Tigers, who will race next on Friday, Oct. 28 at the Southeastern Conference Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The race featured the highest competition Mizzou has seen thus far, as it featured eight top-30 teams in the Division I United States Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association National Coaches’ Poll on both the men’s and the women’s side. All but one of the teams that finished ahead of the women were either ranked or received votes in the poll, while six of the teams that finished ahead of the men were ranked in the top 20 in the country.

The women’s team finished ahead of No. 22 Virginia and will look to receive votes in next week’s Coaches’ Poll for the first time this season. Schweizer’s top-five finish may also move her up in the individual rankings and into the top 10 in the country, as she finished ahead of California junior Bethan Knights, FloTrack’s No. 9 runner in the country, and Colorado junior Kaitlyn Benner, the No. 10 runner in the country. Two of the three runners who beat Schweizer are ranked in the top 10. FloTrack previously had Schweizer ranked No. 17 nationally.

Senior Nicole Mello ran a 21:21 and finished 92nd overall for the women. Junior Jamie Kempfer, who paced with Mello throughout the race, finished in 21:23 while earning 96th place overall.

“We ran a solid team race with Karissa strong up front,” coach Marc Burns said in a press release. “We beat some good teams and feel we can run even better heading into postseason competition.”

The men’s team, after defeating Wichita State and Kansas, both of which are schools that rank ahead of Mizzou in the USTFCCCA Midwest region rankings, will look to move past the No. 11 regional rank it has carried for much of the season. Paced by White, the team of six runners all finished within 65 seconds of each other. Senior Ollie Lockley ran a 25:03 to finish 70th overall, and senior Jordan Cook ran a 25:08 and finished 80th overall for the Tigers.

The race was held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross-Country Course. The Tigers will compete again in Terre Haute on Nov. 11, where they will race in the NCAA Regionals in hopes of earning a bid to the National Championships, which will take place in Terre Haute on Nov. 19.

Edited by Peter Baugh | pbaugh@themaneater.com

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