Aug. 19, 2011
A run for Waylon
Before Northwest Missouri State men's and women's cross country runners officially begin their days of putting in miles and miles of training, they will run for a higher purpose.
Northwest coach Scott Lorek expects 15 of his athletes to run in the first-ever "Endure the Race 5K" at 7 p.m. Saturday in California, Mo.
The memorial race is to honor former teammate Waylon Martensen, who died in an auto accident on May 7th, 2010. He was a sophomore at Northwest who not only competed in cross country, but was a math tutor.
Martensen also made an impact during his high school days at California. He was a Junior and Senior Class President and also a member of National Honor Society.
"The family still keeps in good contact with the team," Lorek said. "His high school coach actually started the memorial run. When he contacted us about doing it, there was no doubt that our runners were going to go."
The Bearcats return quite a few runners who were teammates of Martensen. Martensen would have been proud of how the cross country progressed last season.
The women's team finished third in the MIAA and fifth in region and the men took third in conference and sixth in region.
From all indications, both teams should do just as well this season. The men's team was picked fourth in the MIAA preseason poll and the women were picked third.
One of the key returners for the men is senior TR Pursell, who took third in the conference meet and was also the conference champion in the steeplechase during the outdoor track season.
On the women's team, senior Angela Adams returns after a stellar junior season in which she took second in the conference meet.
"It's always important to have a good frontrunner," Lorek said. "The thing I think about these teams is I know we have our No. 1 people back, but I feel like we have a few other people who are not going to be far behind.
"I don't think we will have a frontrunner who is going to be way out in front. I think we have really good teams."
A couple of the men's runners to watch are senior Zach Layton and junior Ryan Darling.
"Ryan Darling was kind of our No. 2 runner and Zach Layton was up there, too. Zach was a former all-conference runner and I definitely think he is ready," Lorek said.
"We have a really great group of freshmen coming in. I feel really good about the summer the guys put in and the new guys coming in and just really everything about the start of the season. We are starting off with the makings of a great year."
The runners who Lorek expects to push Adams are juniors Brittany Poole, Jordan Esry and Heidi Johnson and sophomore Katti Carrol.
Poole didn't compete in cross country last season, but she was conference champion in the steeplechase.
"I think we have a real solid group," Lorek said. "We have a couple of freshmen who are going to be in the mix.
"The guys have four or five freshmen who I think could be very good."
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