It’s the moment they’ve been working for. The College of the Ozarks Cross-Country teams have put in many hours and many miles, practicing, and competing to get to this time of year. The season is culminating with national championship meets for the NCCAA and the NAIA, and the runners have set their sites on post season competition.
The Bobcats and Lady Cats made their way to Warsaw, Indiana this week for the NCCAA Division I National Cross-Country meet. With much anticipation, the teams set out on their quest for national prominence.
The Lady Cats began the day with an early 8 AM (CT) 5k race. Emily Staal came into the championship event with a goal of the top spot on the podium. She was not disappointed as she turned in a time of 18:40, 12 seconds ahead of the runner up, and claimed the NCCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country National Title. The Lady Cats were in a solid position throughout the race to complete a top team finish as well. Unfortunately, physical challenges and difficulty took its toll, and the team finish was not what they had desired. Sarah Alferink finished the race with a time of 20:43, Lauren Cowden crossed the line at the 21:04 mark, and Naomi Foskett turned in a time of 23:17.
The Bobcats were set to race next in their 8k event. Tanner Bailey turned in an All-American performance and finished in ninth place with his time of 26:03. Lydon Swofford crossed the line at the 28:59 mark, Drew Rose finished with a time of 29:22, Caleb Fewin logged a time of 29:33, Cole Chafin was right on Fewin’s heels with a time of 29:43, Daniel Chupp turned in a time of 29:55, Eric Burns finished the race with a time of 30:13, and Alex Frizzell logged a time of 32:54.
Staal and Bailey will take their All-American finishes and now set their sites on the NAIA National Championship meet next weekend, November 17, in Vancouver, Washington. Bailey and Rose will represent the Bobcats while the Lady Cats qualified as a team by winning the Continental Conference meet a week ago.