Mizzou Cross Country senior Karissa Schweizer (Urbandale, Iowa) repeated as conference champion on Friday as the Tiger senior won her second straight Southeastern Conference cross country title at the SEC Cross Country Championships in Athens, Ga. Schweizer dominated the competition, finishing more than 30 seconds ahead of the runner-up, becoming the first individual in program history and the sixth in SEC history to repeat as cross country champion.
Courtesy Mizzou Athleitcs, click here! Feature photo: Mizzou Women’s XC-2017 ©Mizzou Athletics
Schweizer’s finish led the Mizzou women to a fourth-place finish with 164 points, as the Tigers finished behind Arkansas (35 points), Georgia (88 points) and Ole Miss (103 points). After last year’s third-place finish, this year marks the women’s first back-to-back top-five conference finish since 2004 and 2005 when Mizzou finished second and fourth, respectively, in the Big 12.
Redshirt sophomore Thomas George (Gloucester, England) paced the men’s team for the fourth consecutive meet as the men placed seventh with 201 points. Arkansas took the team title on the men’s side as well, finishing with 41 points.
Schweizer crossed the finish line with a time of 19:36.3, 30 seconds ahead of runner-up Taylor Werner (Arkansas), who finished at 20:07.1. The three-time NCAA National Champion grabbed the lead before the first 2k split, and never trailed from there-on-out. Finishing second for Mizzou was 2016 All-American senior Jamie Kempfer(Festus, Mo.), who finished 30th with a time of 21:25.2. Following Kempfer was redshirt senior Ellyn Atkinson (Springfield, Mo.) and junior Hannah Thomas (Urbandale, Iowa), who finished 41st and 48th with 6k personal record times of 21:44.9 and 21:51.8, respectively.
On the men’s side, George finished the 8k race 26th with a time of 24:41.0, while freshman Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.) ran his best race to-date as a Tiger, finishing 39th at 25:04.8. Mizzou was sitting in ninth-place for a majority of the race before a late surge, led by Hindman, redshirt junior Evan Schulte (Columbia, Mo.) and redshirt junior Zach Cook (Columbia, Mo.) catapulted Mizzou to seventh. Schulte finished 43rd at 25:10.8, while Cook finished 45th at 25:11.0.
Mizzou Head Coach Marc Burns
“We are really proud of how hard both teams fought today,” said head coach Marc Burns. “It was a battle out there and we kept fighting all the way to the finish line. As you look at the results, you see how close the team finishes were for 7-9 on the men’s side and 4-8 on the women’s side. We won those battles and that says a lot about the effort our teams gave today. Karissa was outstanding up front for her second conference title in a row. Jamie came up huge for us today, she has been battling hip issues all season and we were not sure if she would be able to race today. The rest of the team rallied around each other and were able to pass waves of girls in the back-half of the race. We went from eighth at 3k to fourth and it took everything we had to make it happen. I am thrilled for Ellyn and Hannah, as they have been working really hard and had monster days today.
“On the men’s side, we fought back from ninth-place as late as 6k to finish seventh. This is certainly not where we want to be moving forward, but it was the best we could do today. The guys never quit fighting and I am really proud of their effort.”
Mizzou senior Karissa Schweizer
“It means so much to me to win this second SEC title,” said senior Karissa Schweizer. “To get out on the course and represent my team, Mizzou and the SEC is something I am proud of. Georgia provided a great atmosphere, a great course and great weather. It was a great day.”
Mizzou will now head to Ames, Iowa, for the NCAA Midwest Regional on Nov. 10. Last season, The Mizzou women captured a regional title for the first time since 2004. At the regional meet, Mizzou hopes to qualify as a team for the NCAA Championships, which will be held Nov. 18, in Louisville, Ky.
Men’s 8k Results – 7th Place (201 points, 26-38-42-44-51-66-74)
26. Thomas George, 24:41.0 // 39. Austin Hindman, 25:04.8 // 43. Evan Schulte, 25:10.8 // 45. Zach Cook, 25:11.0 // 55. Marc Dubrick, 25:23.5 // 73. Sheldon Keence, 25:46.7 // 84. Justin Loquercio, 26:03.8 // 92. Stephen Mugeche, 26:25.5 // 101. Michael Widman, 26:50.7 // 106. Ben Goodman, 27:09.0
Women’s 6k Results – 4th Place (164 points, 1-29-39-46-49-51-71)
1. Karissa Schweizer, 19:36.3 // 30. Jamie Kempfer, 21:25.2 // 41. Ellyn Atkinson, 21:44.9 // 48. Hannah Thomas, 21:51.8 // 51. Jenna Lutzow, 21:56.8 // 53. Sophia Racette, 22:00.6 // 76. Jordyn Kleve, 22:27.1 // 83. Samantha Farmer, 22:37.9 // 92. Kaelyn Balch, 22:50.7 // 105. Kayla Funkenbusch, 23:24.0 // 124. Melissa Menghini, 24:28.9 // Megan Cunningham, DNF