The cross country teams wrapped up their season on a high note at the NCAA Southeast Regional last Friday.
Freshman Abbie Ashbee-Simmonds was the first runner to cross the finish line for the women. She ran a 6K time of 21:35.73, breaking the program record she set earlier in the season. Ashbee-Simmonds finished in 40th place.
“She is really tough and very competitive,” Head Coach Jenny Severns said. “She really wanted to beat some people that beat her at OVC and she did that. It was a very big race for her.”
Junior Carolyne Tanui was the next runner to finish for the Racers. She finished in 84th place and ran a 21:35.73, a personal record and her third fastest time while competing at Murray State.
“I am very happy with the way they fought during the race; the course was really narrow so it was a bit scrappy but they did really well with it,” Severns said. “Almost everyone passed a lot of people throughout the race. Carolyne passed over 50 people the last half of the way.”
Freshman Lucas Prather was the lone runner from the men’s team to compete on Friday, running a 10K time of 34:03.57. He finished in 181st place. Prather said it was a honor for him to compete at Regionals, which was the biggest race of his career.
“I beat a lot of freshmen that I have run against earlier in the season that I hadn’t beat,” he said. “So I am happy with it.”
Though it was hard for him to compete without his team there, Prather said he will share the experience with his team next year.
“The team will jump up a lot in place in the OVC next year with the new experience,” he said. “We are really young this year, so I think after a year of going through all the rough patches I guess we will really improve a lot.”
This year the team showed promise, Severns said. With every meet the teams ran faster and showed what they are capable of in the future.
Looking toward next season, training and practice will not drastically change. The men’s and women’s teams will try to bump up a little bit in mileage and intensity.
“We will also add in our red shirt freshmen and incoming freshmen,” Severns said. “I am really excited where we will be next year.”
Story by Jaci Kohn, Assistant Sports Editor.