Oct. 13, 2011
Jordan Esry just doing her part for Northwest XC
For the casual morning or evening jogger, one question easily comes to mind for a particular scenario. In a distance race, when the body tells the brain it cannot run another foot even though nearly a mile is left, what do you do?
The answer for the casual runner is easy: walk the rest of the way.
In a grueling, collegiate cross country race, it is probable a runner gets so tired during competition that the thought of stopping is so inviting. Almost none of them ever do.
Northwest Missouri State junior Jordan Esry is definitely in that category as she is usually the third or fourth Bearcat to finish for the women's cross country team.
"I like to think my teammates are out there working just as hard as I am and they are not going to give up so I can't either," Esry said.
These words are normally uttered by most cross country runners who want to do their part to help the team win a meet.
Led by senior Angela Adams and junior Katti Carroll, Northwest has a strong women's team.
A week ago the Bearcats were ranked 22nd nationally, and that's because of runners like Esry and junior Heidi Johnson doing their part in finishing well.
A case in point came Sept. 30 at the Planet Sub Emporia State Invitational when the Bearcats finished first in the 8-team meet. Adams took second and Carroll placed third. But just as important was Esry taking 13th and Johnson finishing 20th.
"Jordan and Heidi Johnson are very close together," Northwest cross country coach Scott Lorek said. "The thing is there is so much potential with those two. I know it is going to happen with Jordan.
"There are going to be some races where she is going to be able to smoke it and just fly and not have any issues. It is going to be great. I know it is in her."
And this gets back to why Esry is one runner who will never quit a race because she is tired.
If quitting were in her genes, Esry would have tossed her competitive running shoes a long time ago and become a recreational runner.
Esry, a native of Hamilton, Mo., was accustomed to being on winning cross country teams in high school. From 2004-07, she was a member of Penney High School Missouri state championship teams.
She experienced just as much success on the high school track and field team and even won a state title in basketball in the 2007-08 season.
Almost from the start when she arrived at Northwest, Esry experienced a hip injury that still bothers her, Lorek said.
Esry was unable to compete in the 2009-10 school year.
Despite the injury, Esry has improved her speed like most runners as they move from freshman to sophomore to junior years.
Lorek measures Esry's growth as a runner in other ways.
"Really, in her competitiveness and thinking as a runner and just running intelligently, this I think is impressive," Lorek said. "I think when an athlete deals with something she has dealt with, it forces you to re-examine what you are doing and how you are doing it. She really had to come to grips with all that stuff.
"A lot of kids would have quit. She has really examined those things, gone through the tough questions. She loves it and wants to stick it out. She has up and down days and weeks.
"I think that's where the discipline and the toughness really shows with her as far as how she has managed it and dealt with it and handle it and continues to train from an emotional and mental aspect. That's what I'm impressed with."
The next meet Esry and the rest of the Northwest men's and women's teams will compete in is the MIAA Championship in Joplin, Mo., on Oct. 22.
"I think we are all excited," Esry said. "We are trying to focus on running well and let the race take care of itself. We know if we run well, the scoring will take care of itself. We will place high."
Since the conference meet is more than a week away, Esry emphasized the immediate workouts. It is what Lorek wants all his runners to do.
Over the summer, Lorek sent a letter to his runners that dealt with focusing on what is immediately ahead of them.
For instance, today they will just concentrate on their workout today and worry about Friday's workout on Friday.
"We are not going to be looking too far ahead or pointing everything to one day," Lorek said. "We are going to take care of each day and the things that are right in front of us. Although it is on our mind, we are going t take care of the MIAA when we get there. Until then, we got some training to do.
"The bottom line is if we run well and we do our best, everything takes care of itself. It is easy to get distracted and easy to let things muddle that picture. We got to keep our focus on what we are going to do and not in relation to what anybody else does."
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