Oct. 19, 2012
Bearcats excited to run for home crowd
By David Boyce
The scenario for the men and women’s MIAA Cross Country Championship is the perfect situation for Northwest Missouri State seniors Ryan Darling and Jordan Esry.
Saturday’s conference meet is at the Maryville Country Club. The men’s 8K race is at 10 a.m. followed by the women’s 6K race at 11 a.m.
In addition to being at home, Darling and Esry are on teams that figure to compete for a top spot.
“We are both fifth-year seniors so it is pretty cool that one of our last races will be in Maryville and it is the conference championships,” Darling said. “It is a pretty big deal.
“The last few years we have done really well in conference. We took third two years ago and second last year. We lost a couple of guys that really helped us.
“But this year we brought in a lot of good young guys. I think everything started coming together our last race. In this race, if we can have around the same results as our last race, we should do really well and be one of the top contenders.”
The last time out, the Northwest men easily won the Fort Hays State Tigers Open on Oct. 6. In that race, Darling claimed first place with a time of 24:24.64.
One of the newcomers who performed well was freshman Nolan Zimmer, who placed fourth with a time of 24:53.27. In all, four Bearcats finished in the top seven.
“The men have been steady all the way through,” Northwest cross country coach Scott Lorek. “I think we are very ready and very excited.”
Lorek is eager to see how the women’s team performs because this will be the first meet since Sept. 7 that all the runners are healthy.
Two weeks ago at Fort Hays Northwest women also ran well. The Bearcats, led by a first-place finish by senior Brittany Poole and a second-place finish by Esry, won the meet. Junior Taylor Woodruff took fourth.
“We are all healthy for the first time in six weeks,” Esry said. “We are excited about that. They don’t know what we can do because we haven’t put everybody in one race. If everybody puts together a good race, it should turn out good.”
Esry believes the conference meet in Maryville will help the Bearcats.
“We are the only team in conference who has run the course,” Esry said. “We know what it is like. We have trained on it a little. We get to sleep in our own bed the night before and not having to sit on the bus all day. That will definitely play to our advantage. The atmosphere will help. We are excited about that.”
Lorek added that this is a cross country course teams should like. He appreciates all the help the cross country program has received to make it a championship caliber course.
“We have had such great cooperation from a lot of different entities, from the country club to the public works department to our athletic grounds to everybody.
“It is a great course. I think other teams will enjoy it. I think it is a true cross country course, which I like. We have a lot of different terrain, a lot of trees, different footing, hills, gullies and all sorts of things to maneuver around.
“It is not like some cross country meets when it is almost like running on a track because you are running on a flat golf course.”
Regardless of what happens Saturday, Darling and Esry have enjoyed their time running for the Bearcats.
“We had a huge freshman class when I came here,” Darling said. “After you run thousands and thousands of miles with guys, you become almost as close with them as your own family. I can definitely look back to when I first got here and see how much I’ve grown as a runner.”
Added Esry, “The girls on the team are my best friends. I really don’t know what I would have done without cross country here. It is just a great program to be a part of. I will take a lot of memories with me.”
Esry and Darling want to add to those memories on Saturday.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468