Oct. 26, 2011
A race to remember
By David Boyce
Northwest Missouri State senior Angela Adams had plenty left in her running tank when she was locked in a battle with Missouri Southern sophomore Marlee Tegankamp for the MIAA women’s cross country title.
A 1,000 meters remained on Tegankamp’s home course in Joplin, Mo., Saturday morning, when Adams received an extra boost of energy from an unexpected source.
It became clear to most followers that the winner would be either Adams or Tegankamp.
Adams heard one of the Missouri Southern cheerleaders yell at Tegankamp that “she is dying, she is dying.”
Those words only motivated Adams to hit another level.
“I’m not dying,” Adams told herself.
“I just had to show them that I was not dying. I finished with a pretty good lead on her.”
Indeed. Adams finished the 6K MIAA Championship race with a personal best of 21:00.68, nearly 6 seconds ahead of Tegankamp, who clocked in 21:06.42.
The excitement that followed for Adams left her in a surreal state. The person who started the race by shooting the gun off, gave her the casing after the race.
Adams gave the casing to her mom and figures it is now in a scrapbook.
Everything about Saturday was just unbelievable to Adams despite the fact that she took second place last year at the MIAA Championship.
When Adams arrived at Northwest four years ago from North Kansas City High School, running cross country was not on her agenda.
Adams signed a track scholarship. She was going to run the 800 meters for two years and focus on pre-nursing. After two years, she was going to transfer to complete her nursing degree.
But before she began her student-athlete career at Northwest, Adams received a cross country schedule in the mail.
“He (Northwest cross country coach Scott Lorek) invited me to go to camp so I went,” Adams said. “He said 800-meter runners go to camp. I got a uniform and I was too scared to ask him why I was running cross country.”
All along, Lorek knew Adams had the ability to compete in cross country even though her high school times didn’t draw much interest. In fact, Northwest was the only school recruiting her.
The one thing that Lorek didn’t know about Adams until she started running for Northwest was her competitive fire.
“She is one of those people that whatever level she trains at, in the race she is going to be that much higher,” Lorek said.
Lorek had a plan for Adams. But conference champion?
“I’d like to say I did and I was a big mastermind, but that’s not true at all,” he said. “I knew she was better than what her high school times were. For her to be this good, I had no clue.”
Adams’ running strategy is basic. She just wants to run the best race she can. She doesn’t worry about who she is running against nor the position they take during a race.
It served her well on Saturday. She said most of the race, one runner bolted to the lead and held it until the final 1,000 meters. The leader faded in the last 1,000 meters and that made it a two-person race between her and Tegankamp.
Adams kept her running philosophy intact during those final 1,000 meters.
“I went into the MIAA Championship like all my races,” Adams said. “I just run and tell myself I would not have any regrets or think I could have gone faster and pushed myself harder. I went into it like it was any other race. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself.”
As Adams crossed the finish line, she knew there would only be wonderful memories.
“It was cool,” she said. “I had some wins indoors and stuff, but it was never as big as a conference championship.”
It’s also a day coach Lorek will remember.
“I feel lucky and blessed,” he said. “The amount she has improved. When she came in as a freshman and then becoming conference champion is kind of like going to the moon.”
There is another moon rising for the Bearcats. Sophomore Kattie Carroll took fifth place in the MIAA Championship.
“I see a lot of potential in her. I cannot wait to see what she does her senior year,” Adams said.
Adams still has a lot of running left for the Bearcats. She, along with her teammates, are preparing for the South Central Regional on Nov. 5 in Wichita, Texas.
Adams, who is majoring in Biology/Psychology, will also compete in track. After she graduates from Northwest, she will continue her education by entering an accelerated nursing program to earn a Bachelors Degree in nursing.
One day in the future, Adams wants to work in a hospital.
Given the focus Adams used to become the best cross country in the MIAA, she has the traits that will serve her well in helping those who have become sick or injured.
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