CC at MIAA Championships

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by ALEX AGUEROS, for The Muleskinner—
The Mules cross country team looks to defend its conference title, while the Jennies hope to use their regular season success as momentum, as they travel to the MIAA Championships this weekend.
“The women’s team has lots of energy going into the tournament because of their improvement this year,” head coach Kirk Pedersen said. “They are very focused. I think they are confident and hungry. It’s exciting to watch them get better and have success.”
Senior Kacy Hession is also excited to turn regular season improvements into a conference championship.
“It’s been several years since we’ve had success at this meet,” Hession said. “The confidence is high right now. Last meet we posted a perfect score. We can compete with some of the best teams in the conference.”
Pedersen and Hession are also excited for what a conference title would mean for younger Jens runners.
“[The success] is definitely fun to be a part of,” Hession said. “It’s fun that the girls are young, so the future of the program is bright.”
Pedersen added, “The ladies have a good sophomore class. Their development has been key to their success.”
On the Mules side, the team plans on overcoming adversity faced the entire season. Junior Ben Barrows explained that a struggling team can make it up with a win in the conference championship.
“Some of the team has been a little overwhelmed with injuries and confidence kind of went down,” Barrows said. “But the good thing about this season, if you run poorly all season, it doesn’t affect your conference title.”
Barrows also acknowledges that the Mules’ reputation is following this year’s team.
“There’s always pressure to win,” Barrows said. “The target’s always been on our back in CC and track. It will be interesting to see how we respond as the underdog.”
The Mules and Jens face new opponents in the race, such as Central Oklahoma, along with familiar conference rivals. On the women’s side, Pittsburg State is the two-time defending conference champs.
“New teams makes the race a little bigger,” Pedersen said. “We feel like we know how the teams, especially the men’s teams, will approach the race. We are prepared for that.”
The meet is Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Maryville Country Club in Maryville, Mo.