The Northwestern Oklahoma State University men and women cross country teams both competed at the Central Region Championships Saturday morning in Kearney, Neb. The women finished in 32nd overall while the men came in 27th overall in the meet. The women ran a 6k and the men ran a 10k. Leading the way for the Lady Rangers was junior Kayla Gourley who ran for a time of 24:59.
She was only 10 seconds shy of capturing the Northwestern’s women’s 6k record. Sophomore Clara O’Connor finished next for the Lady Rangers with a time of 27:07. This put her in the 199th place out of 217 competitors. For the men, school record holder Clayton Fletcher was unable to compete. It was up to the handful of freshman to get the job done.
Freshman Chris Kincaid finished first for the Rangers with a time of 37:25. This time beat his previous 10k time this season of 37:50. The next three Rangers—Colton Reed, Sam Goddard and Ben Ivory—finished consecutively to place 171, 172 and 173 overall. Head Coach Jill Lancaster said that by taking her team to meet on Saturday gave them an idea of what they needed to strive to achieve in the upcoming seasons. She said it was a teaching and learning tool for the team. She said this meet helped prepare them for next season.
“Knowing what you’re battling is a big part of preparation,” Lancaster said. A big obstacle Lancaster and her team had to overcome this season was all new runners. The men and women’s team are made up of almost all new members, and it was an adjustment for Lancaster and her team. Despite making that adjustment, Lancaster said her team has made progress over the year.
The women were picked to be 11th, but finished in 9th place. The men dropped almost 2 minutes from their average run time last year. Lancaster said her team members a hard works. She said they are dedicated to the program.
Overall, she said her team will work to upgrade their standards of training and upgrade their expectations in competition for next season. “We knew it was going to be hard to change where we were now in the environment we were with everybody new,” Lancaster said. “But now our expectations will be higher.”