The College of the Ozarks Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams opened their 2021 season on Saturday at the Quachita Baptist Invitational in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The cross country season typically takes place in the fall. However, due to concerns over COVID-19, many institutions postponed competition and the NAIA is allowing schools to compete this spring.
For a season opening meet, which would typically involve difficult heat and possibilities of exhaustion and dehydration, the Bobcats and Lady Cats had been preparing for a much different scenario. One in which the team would hit the course with cold temperatures and a winter storm looming in the next 24-48 hours. The colder day and the looming storm would not be an intimidating factor for the teams as they began their day of competition.
The women’s 5k race would start the day. The Lady Bobcats finished fourth overall and posted two top ten finishers. Abigayle Money finished third with a time of 18:52.9 and Emily Staal finished eighth with a time of 19:13.2. Lauren Cowden finished in the top 20 with a time of 20:02.2. The rest of the Lady Cats included Janelle Staal placing 23rd with a time of 20:11.0, Brooklyne Sedarwall, 25th, with a time of 20:29.9, Mary Zimmerman, 28th with a time of 20:57.2, and Jacqueline O’Harver, 29th, with a time of 21:04.8.
In the men’s 8k race, the Bobcats finished second in the team standings. Four Bobcats finished in the top ten with Garrett Pierce placing 3rd with a time of 27:23.5, Samuel Buamer 7th, with a time of 28:09.6, Cole Chafin 9th, with a time of 28:22.0, and Wesley Moore 10th, with a time of 28:30.8. David Byrd and Mason Apperson were just outside of the top ten finishing in 12th (28:51.7) and 15th (29:36.5) respectively.
Both the Bobcats and Lady Cats had successful days on the course but they are definitely hoping for warmer temperatures in the days and meets ahead. The teams will head to Columbia College for an invitational meet on February 27th.