The 2016-2017 men’s and women’s cross country teams are excited about the season and zealous to tackle the year’s upcoming schedule.
This season both teams will compete in five meets, culminating in the conference championship in Denver, Colorado, and hopefully followed by NAIA National Championship appearances.
Coach Woods is pleased that his returning runners have come back to school strong and eager to compete for the top five spots. Woods also looks forward to the excitement his eight new freshman will contribute.
The women’s team has added three new freshmen to their roster. Kayla Cooper (Ava), Melanie Hall (Ash Grove), and Rosemary Sanders (Genoa, Ill.) are each stepping up and embracing their role on the team. Coach Woods expects the women’s team to be stronger this year. The current team’s 5K times are not as diverse as they’ve been in the past, which should provide for quality team finishes.
Torri Holder is the top returner for the women and is anticipated to be found in the top ten of the field in most of her races. She is joined by sophomore runners Kayla Reed, Naomi Murrell, and ShelbySkye Pace. Reed will likely find herself contributing race times near the top of her squad. In addition, newcomer Melanie Hall has quickly proven herself to be a strong addition to the Bobcat team and is expected to set personal records several times throughout the season.
The Lady Bobcat runners have set a goal to work hard and push each other to achieve their personal best while setting their sights on at least second place in the A.I.I. Conference.
The men’s team has grown by five, as they welcomed freshmen Joshua Ingalls (West Plains), Zachary Manes (Springfield), Brenden Warden (Stillwater, Okla.), Kirk Washington (Oktaha, Okla.), and Jonathan Zimmerman (McCune, Kan.) to this year’s team. With a significant influx of freshman runners, it is anticipated there will be some adjustment from high school to collegiate competition. However, most are already contributing and pushing the team to be better, and Coach Woods has noted that Zimmerman and Washington are already settling in and moving toward the top of the team’s times.
Junior Dameon Davis and sophomore Jeremy Wood are both off to a strong start and will most likely be found in the top 5 on a regular basis. Joining Davis and Wood in contributing to the Bobcats’ success are returners Loyal Carpenter, Dalton Harris, Sam Scaggs, Nicolas White, Tyler Wiggs, and Shane York. Many of the runners often finish relatively close to one another, benefitting the team scoring.
The Bobcat runners are striving to improve their times with the goal to receive votes and hopefully move into the NAIA Top 25.
Both teams are passionate about returning runners to the national championship by qualifying at conference – a feat four College of the Ozarks runners achieved last season.
Best wishes to our men’s and women’s cross country teams in their 2016 season!