Nov. 5, 2010
Northwest ready for MIAA Championship meet
By David Boyce
2010 MIAA Cross Country Championships
Hosted by Fort Hays State University
Men's 8K - 10 a.m.
Women's 6K - 10:50 a.m.
Defending Women's Champ: Missouri Southern
Defending Men's Champ: Missouri Southern
The facial look cross country coach Scott Lorek sported Tuesday at the weekly Northwest Missouri State media luncheon sparked an interesting comment from women's basketball coach Gene Steinmeyer.
Steinmeyer thought Lorek's full, white beard made him look a little like Willie Nelson. The remark generated a bit of a chuckle.
The beard, Lorek said, will not last for long, but the moustache will stay through the NCAA Division II national cross country meet on Dec. 4.
The men's team is in the early stages of growing moustaches as a way to bond them for a championship run over the next month.
It starts Saturday at Fort Hays State in the MIAA Championships. The men's race is at 10 a.m. followed by the women's race at 10:50.
In fact, the men's team really doesn't need moustaches to give the runners leg power.
"The main thing has been the attitude," Lorek said. "Things started changing last year. The women's team had a great season last year and our men took notice.
"This year the men's team has been on the same level, mentally and emotionally, from the beginning of the year and all the way through."
A year ago the Northwest men placed sixth and the women took fourth at the MIAA Championships. Angela Adams earned MIAA honorable mention honors by finishing 12th, just two spots shy of taking home All-MIAA honors.
Lorek said last year's conference meet was when Adams went to another level.
"Her freshman year was pretty much uneventful," he said. "It was right near the end of the last year that she started showing what kind of runner she could be. She was all-region in cross country and a national qualifier in track, outdoor and indoor. It has only been fairly recently that she has popped up to that level."
Adams has had a strong fall. She recently finished second at the Graceland Yellowjacket Classic. She is not going into the conference meet feeling the pressure that she's one of the favorites to win it.
"No, I try not to look at it like that," she said. "I look at it as running, and I enjoy it.
"I'm very excited. We are all finally progressing as a team. It would be a blast for all of us to qualify for nationals."
The men's team has the same enthusiasm. A junior also leads them. T.R.Pursell has been consistently running with the leaders this season.
But Pursell understands none of that means anything now. The only thing that counts is the team's performance on Saturday.
"I'm pretty excited. My season is going really well," Pursell said. "My times are dropping. Every race seems smoother and smoother. I'm keeping my focus during the race, which is really the key factor in how you run.
"You can have great times all season, but come race day it is that day or nothing. You get used to it. A lot of times I don't get too many butterflies before races, but at conference I always do. You have to keep the attitude that you've done all the work and the day is the day."
Lorek likes where his teams are at mentally and physically heading into the MIAA championships.
"The mistake we can make is doing too much," Lorek said. "We have to do just enough to feel good mentally and physically. Otherwise we need to be well rested.
"We've done plenty of work all year. We have to trust all that will pay off."
The Bearcats will spend much of Friday in a van on the long drive to Hays, Kan.
"Everybody kind of does their own thing," Pursell said. "There is a lot of joking around. You don't want to think too much about the race because you start hyping it up and putting too much pressure on. After dinner is when you start think about it."
The Bearcats are confident they are ready.
"I think we have a really good shot," Adams said. "Truman has a strong group of women, but if we all run a good race we could be at the top."
Pursell feels pretty much the same about the men.
"We had a really good showing against Missouri Southern in Arkansas," Pursell said. "We handed it to Emporia last weekend in Iowa. A lot of teams graduated some people. The door is really open to get in the top three as a team."
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