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Scots women win MWC; Barr breaks MC record

November 2, 2012

After thousands of miles and countless hours in the weight room, Monmouth cross country’s grueling season comes down to one event.

Next weekend both the men’s and women’s squads will travel up to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the NCAA’s Division III Midwest Regional Championship. The top three to five teams and seven individuals advance to the following week’s NCAA finals. Coach Roger Haynes says both teams are capable.

“The main goal is for all runners to set a season personal best at the course. We have been there before…they should know what to do.”

Optimism is high after a promising performance by both teams at last weekend’s Midwest Conference Championships. The men recorded a 4th place finish, just three points behind Grinnell for the final podium spot.

Individually, seniors Jake Barr and Matt Gatlin finished 2nd and 3rd, respectfully. The former MWC Performers of the Week were within nine and a half seconds of Grinnell’s Frank Canady, who took medalist honors with a time of 25:21.9.

Barr’s 2nd place time of 25:25.2 broke Geoff Bird’s record of fastest MWC Championship time by a senior by 2.6 seconds. Gatlin’s time of 25:31.5 was an entire fifteen seconds ahead of 4th place. Senior Paul Davies also finished with All-Conference honors; his 26:12.8 placed him 17th. Barr was pleased with his team’s showing at Oshkosh.

“I’m satisfied with the effort that all the guys put in,” said Barr. “It really showed that we were all seasoned veterans and we knew the kind of effort that was needed at the conference meet.”

Not to be outdone, the Monmouth women captured their second MWC title in five years, moving back into the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA)’s rankings at number ten. Five Scots runners finished in the event’s top 20; Tori Beaty 3rd with a 22:36.7, Rachel Bowden 5th with a 22:47.8, Brittney Frazier 8th at a 23:17.8, and Alyssa Edwards 15th with a 23:49.2, while Marlee Lane’s 24:05.4 placed her in 20th position.

Kyra Kimber and Thea Bloom were within eleven seconds of Lane’s pace, at 22nd and 24th, respectively. Haynes was pleased with the women’s response to a tough challenge.

“Nearly every runner posted lifetime or season bests on a twisty, soft course,” said Haynes. “They ran their race models very effectively which led to improved individual places. The women won the title over two quality teams.”

The quality teams of which Haynes speaks are Grinnell and St. Norbert, who finished four and eighteen points behind the Scots, respectively.

With Monmouth MWC record in hand, Barr looks forward to finishing his collegiate career with a flourish, alongside his veteran teammates.

“The biggest strength has been the experience of our runners,” Barr said. “Having five seniors helped us to all know how to handle training and tough situations. The key to success at regionals will be to close the gap from our front pack of runners to our second pack.”

Reduced mileage in practice, the elimination of weight lifting and higher quality aerobic runs are designed to maximize endurance for next weekend’s NCAA Regionals. Haynes explains what his teams will need to accomplish to find success.

“The race will go out faster. We have to be ready to handle that to stay in touch with runners that we hope to finish ahead of at the end,” said Haynes. “The big challenge is to be mentally prepared for the outstanding competition at the Midwest regional-it is the best in the country at this time.”

The duo of talented, experienced Monmouth squads look to advance to the NCAA Finals as a team for the first time. The Scots will begin their quest for history on November 10th in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Kyle McEwen
Sports Editor

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