Sept. 26, 2012
Bearcat runners follow Esry’s lead
By David Boyce
Several reasons exist for senior Jordan Esry running free and easy for Northwest Missouri State women’s cross country team.
Esry already has her Bachelors in biology. She is now in graduate school at Northwest.
Esry has experience.
“She is running different in a very good way,” Northwest cross country coach Scott Lorek said. “I even commented on it Tuesday morning when she did her workout. She is much smoother and she is running a lot more relaxed than she had.
“I would describe Jordan as a freshman, as a pounder and a grinder biomechanically. Now, she is much smoother and much more efficient.”
Most importantly, Esry is running pain free after four years in which her right hip hampered her ability from reaching her potential.
In fact, Esry needed to redshirt her sophomore year to help her hip heal.
“Knock on wood, now it has been doing awesome,” she said. “It is feeling real strong.”
And that means Esry is off to a great start to her final collegiate season running cross country. In the first meet of the season, the Northwest Bearcat Open on Sept. 7, Esry finished fifth.
A week later, at the Woody Greeno Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., Esry placed 34th out of nearly 300 runners.
“I’m happy with the way I’m running,” Esry said.
Since Esry earned her undergraduate degree last spring, she could have opted to end her college running career.
Lorek saw the desire Esry had when she sat out because of the hip injury and figured she would return to complete her athletic eligibility.
“It is not a surprise she stayed, but it was what we wanted and hoped for because with any of our kids, if we can have them around for a fifth year, they are just going to be better,” Lorek said.
Just her presence helps the team. The younger runners can watch Esry and see the things that are necessary to be successful.
“It helps immensely because a coach can only do so much,” Lorek said. “When freshmen come in, they really learn what the program is like from the older people. I think the athletes have more power in molding a freshman than a coach does.”
One of the things Esry did over the summer besides taking courses for graduate school. She logged her summer miles in Maryville with a few of her teammates.
They had weekly goals of the number of miles they needed to run to prepare for the fall season.
“We were able to do some really good training,” she said. “I feel like that has really benefited me and all of us. That has been huge.
“We are a close team. We kept in touch a lot with girls who were not in town. Just to hear they were working hard, too, was encouraging.”
A few injuries to other runners have prevented the women’s team from fielding its complete team. They return to competition Saturday at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn.
They will have one more meet after this weekend before the MIAA Championships on Oct. 20 at Northwest’s new cross country course.
“I think we could run very well at conference meet,” Esry said. “When we put everybody together and healthy, it could be a lot of fun. We have a great team all-around. Each day someone new shows up strong so it is exciting to see each week.
“I am so thankful how well this season is going. I am feeling healthy, and I have awesome teammates and coaches here. I’m just having a blast.”
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