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Cross-country ends season with good consistency placing

November 21, 2014 Athletics, Cross-Country

The cross-country team ended its season at the Southeast NCAA Regionals Nov. 14 in Louisville, Ky. EP Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky.

33 men’s teams and 38 women’s teams were hosted at regionals. A total of 448 men and women were in attendance to contest the Southeast Regional title.

The Murray State men’s cross-country team finished 27th out of 33 teams while the women placed 28th out of 38 teams.

The men posted the sixth smallest split of the day between their first and last finisher.

What the team lacks in high placings, it makes up with consistency. More importantly they are young, improving and excelling in a field of runners which includes representation from some of the top schools in the country, said Head Coach Jenny Severns.

Severns said she is excited about the development of the team. This year only one female runner will graduate.

Severns is working with several talented freshmen and a large number of experienced juniors.

“This year has been really smooth with training,” Severns said. “The team just seems to get better every day. I was really happy to avoid injuries all season. We never tried to do killer workouts, but every day the team put in the hard work.”

Severns said the team’s effort in training and races suggests the future is bright for Murray State cross-country. With the high returning number, Severns is hopeful for a good season.

“We finished a lot better consistently over the course of the season,” said Severns.

She said she is happy with where they are in the season because they beat teams like Notre Dame.

Both teams continue to show consistency despite how hard it is to be a long distance runner according to Severns.

“Place-wise we were the same in OVC, but at regionals we were way higher,” Severns said. “I am really excited to see where we go in the future. Our freshmen are running really well and they have lots of time to develop.”

Lucas Prather, junior from Mahomet, Ill., said the new training regimen that the cross-country team has adopted is showing up in the form of better performances in races.

“The weight room training was completely different this year,” Prather said. “We have been doing more training in the pool. I was prepared as best I could be this year. I ran my personal bests in 10k runs this season. The team prepared themselves the best they could to be ready for races.”

Prather said the season has many positives, but he is not letting himself get complacent.

“The guys are running their best races of the year,” Prather said. “At the end of the season everyone is happy with how it ended, but nobody is jumping for joy. There are teams we want to beat badly. After this year, everyone knows there is so much more improvement we can make with our new approach. I am looking forward to having good spring training to prepare us for next fall season.”

Story by Alex McLaughlin, Staff writer

Cross-country race in OVC Championship

November 7, 2014 Athletics, Cross-Country

The Murray State men’s and women’s cross-country team raced in the OVC Championship in Oxford, Ala Nov. 1.

The women finished fifth out of 12 OVC teams at the conference and the men matched their best finish under Head Coach Jenny Severns and finished eighth in the championship.

Severns said one of the most exciting moments at the OVC Championship was that two of her runners, Meagan Smith and Caroline Grogan, performed well for their first OVC Championship.

On the men’s team it was exciting that nearly all of the men set a personal record and it was good to see it all come together with the men giving it all they had, she said.

“I think that Meagan and Caroline are hungry for more and are really ready to get after and get those spots in the All-Conference in the future,” Severns said. “The men really went out there and gave it everything they had.”

The Racers did face a variety of challenges during the OVC Tournament from cold, windy weather conditions to injured players, but even with these challenges it did not prevent them fromsuceeding.

According to Severns, the biggest challenge the Racers faced at the championship was that one of the seniors, Abbie Oliver, injured her ankle a few days before the race.

Lucas Prather admited he weather wasn’t ideal.

“The cold weather did have a bit of an effect; it did not hurt me from running a lifetime personal best and I still just got up and ran, and raced my heart out,” Prather said.

In the next meet, Prather expects to run a lifetime best in the 10k, which is farther than what he ran this past weekend.

“I just want to run a lifetime best and be competitive with some big schools,” he said.

The Racers will continue to work hard because they are making progress working in their regular routines, Severns said.

“I think we need to keep doing what we are doing because we don’t lose anyone on either men or women’s teams that competed this past weekend, so it’s basically just about getting experience for the freshman and getting more experience for everybody else,” Severns said. “There is not anything crazy I would change people performed well and we will just figure out what we did well and learn from the things that didn’t go so well and move forward. ”

The Racers will compete in at the NCAA Tournament at 1:15 p.m. Nov. 14 in Louisville, Ky.

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Staff Report

Cross-country trains for OVC Jacksonville State championship

October 31, 2014 Athletics, Cross-Country

The men’s and women’s cross-country team will race in the 2014 OVC Cross-Country Championship at Jacksonville State tomorrow.

Senior Abbie Oliver said the cross-country teams practice six times a week three of which they use for regular runs with different workouts on the Murray State track to help them prepare for their upcoming meet at Jacksonville State.

Oliver said the Racers go out to a farm owned by Murray State to do their more challenging runs called tempo-runs. The tempo-runs are some of the hardest workouts the team does to get prepared for each meet, she said.

The different tempo-run workouts the Racers have been doing are the 300-meter to a mile run which is where they run fast, and then slow down and then pick up the pace again.

The goal the Racers have set for the OVC championship race is to work well together, and hopefully transfer how well they work in practice together to Saturday.

“This is the strongest team I have been on in all my years at Murray State because I am a senior now,” Oliver said. “It is really exciting to go into the conference knowing that I am part of the best team since I have been at Murray State.”

“My personal goal is to be in the top four teams which is all conference and you get a medal for that and to run in the 17 as well which would be a great end to the season,” Oliver said.

Oliver said they are doing a lot to prepare for the game individually and as a team.

“I know personally I am staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep and being on top of things outside of practice as well and I see other players doing the same thing,” Oliver said.

Head Coach Jenny Severns said the biggest goals for the cross-country team is to go in to the competition and soak up the experience.

“The OVC is always tough and the OVC gets stronger every year,” Severns said. “I know they are ready to race and I want for everybody to go in and enjoy the experience.”

Story by Heath Ringstaff, Staff writer

Cross-country stumbles at the Bradley Classic

October 24, 2014 Athletics, Cross-Country

The men and women’s cross-country teams started out falling at the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Ill., Oct. 17 with the men finishing 22nd out of 26 teams and the women finishing 20th out of 30 teams.

The University of Illinois won the women’s race with all five of its the top runners placing 31st or better on the six-kilometer course.

The Racers’ best runner, freshman Meagan Smith, finished 68th with a time of 22 minutes 32 seconds on the six-kilometer course. Sophomore Emma Gilmore and freshman Caroline Grogan also cracked the top 100, placing 76th and 79th, respectively.

Head Coach Jenny Severns said the Racers had an off day at the Bradley Classic.

“We haven’t really had an off meet so far this season, so it was probably best to just get it out of the way now,” Severns said.

The men’s team was paced by Cole Cisneros, who finished 122nd with a time of 26:39 in the eight-kilometer race. Lucas Prather, Gavin Galanes, Mark Ventura and Evan Staviski rounded out the Racers’ top five finishers.

“It just happens,” Severns said. “Sometimes everybody has been training really hard, and it just happens.”

The Racers will run next at the OVC Cross Country Championship, hosted by Jacksonville State Nov. 1 in Jacksonville, Ala.

“I believe that they are ready, and I think they are definitely ready to prove that we are better than what we showed last week,” Severns said.

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Story by Heath RingstaffStaff writer

Cross-country to compete at Bradley

October 17, 2014 Athletics, Cross-Country

The men’s and women’s cross-country teams will compete at the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Ill., today. Some OVC schools attending the Bradley Classic include Eastern Illinois, Southeast Missouri State and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. This will be the first match of the season the Racers will face SEMO.

Head Coach Jenny Severns said that seeing SEMO race for the first time will provide an opportunity for the Racers to gauge where they stand in the conference.

“It will be good to see Southeast Missouri and see where we are at,” Severns said. “Other than that, there are just some good Missouri Valley schools it’s always good to compete against and just some people we don’t compete against very often.”

The Racers have worked hard to prepare for the upcoming Bradley Classic.  Some of the workouts the men have done to prepare for the meet is a 4×300 meter at a two-mile tempo and the  women done a 4×300 one-mile tempo run which are challenging workouts, according to Severns.

“I think we get better every day,” Severns said. “They have been working hard and they are definitely ready to run fast for sure.”

Severns explained that her players are all doing a good job, but the biggest thing will be to continue to work together as a team and really pull each other along.

“Our strength right now is that we pack run, and we really keep everybody together,” Severns said. “So where someone might have one person out front and a straggler behind, we just have big group, so it will be moving that group forward to where they are all moving together.”

The goals for this upcoming meet that Severns has set for her team are simply to never stop improving and moving forward. She said that in every meet both the men’s and women’s teams have competed in, they have made progress.

“I think that with every meet they have taken a step forward and they have proven to themselves that they are fit and are ready to run fast and compete,” Severns said. “I think that is just what we need to do this weekend is just go in and compete because I know they are ready. It is just a matter of them believing they are ready.”

Story by Heath Ringstaff, Contributing writer

Cross-country competes at Notre Dame

October 10, 2014 Athletics, Cross-Country

The Murray State men’s and women’s cross-country teams both cracked the top 20 Oct. 3 at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind.

The men placed 19th out of 23 teams in the Gold 5 Mile race, while the women finished 18th out of 27 teams in the Gold 5k.

Sophomore Alicyn Hester paced the Racers, finishing  61st with a new personal best 17:57, which was more than a minute behind the winner. Meagan Smith also improved on her previous personal best with 18:07 – good enough for 81st of the 216 runners.

Grand Valley State swept the men and women’s races. Each of their top five runners placed among the first 25 finishers in the respective races.

For Murray State, Gavin Galanes, Cole Cisneros, Mark Ventura and Lucas Prather finished in the top 150 on their way to 19th place.

Head Coach Jenny Severns said she saw improvement.

  “Slowly and surely the guys are getting better. They keep moving up and that’s all you can ask for,” she said.

Three women competed in the JV 5K. Elizabeth Lay led the team by finishing in 20:12.8, followed closely by Jacquelyn Thate and Heatherly Paschall.

The Racers will travel to Peroria, Ill., Oct. 17 to compete in the Bradley Classic.

Staff report

Cross-country sweeps Invitational

September 26, 2014 Athletics, Cross-Country
Jenny Rohl/The News Freshman Mark Venura practices agilities with the cross country team at Stewart Stadium Sept. 24.

Jenny Rohl/The News
Freshman Mark Venura practices agilities with the cross country team at Stewart Stadium Sept. 24.

The Murray State men’s and women’s cross country teams earned a pair of wins against Austin Peay State and Bethel Friday at the Austin Peay Invitational in Clarksville, Tenn.

The women finished with a perfect score and took every spot from first to fifth place and the men took first and second place. Individually the women were led by junior Emma Gilmore, who won the 5K race with a time of 18 minutes, 37 seconds. She was closely followed by freshman Meagan Smith who took second time 18:38, redshirt sophomore Alicyn Hester finished third, freshman Caroline Grogan finished fourth, and senior Abbie Oliver who placed fifth at 19:08.

The men were led by junior Cole Cisneros, who finished first place in the four mile with a time of 21:45. He was followed by Mark Venura who placed second with a time of 21:52.

Head Coach Jenny Severns said both the men’s and women’s teams did well in both of their races.

Cisneros and Gilmore both earned cross country runners of the week from the OVC for the first time this season.

Both teams have the week off before returning to action Oct. 3 at the Notre Dame Invitational.

“There will be eight boys and 12 girls attending the Notre Dame Invitational from Murray State,” Severns said.

The women will compete in the 5K race and the men will compete in the five mile race that will take place at the Notre Dame Golf Course in South Bend, Ind., beginning at 2 p.m.


Story by Heath Ringstaff, Contributing writer



Cross country beats heat at Eastern Illinois

September 12, 2014 Athletics, Cross-Country
Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics The Racers take off at the Belmont Opener August 29 at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn.

Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics
The Racers take off at the Belmont Opener August 29 at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn.

With a heat index of 100 degrees, the Racers still came out strong at the Eastern Illinois University Walt Crawford Invitational in Charleston, Ill.

The women finished second and the men finished third overall. Individually, the women were led by sophomore Alicyn Hester, who finished in sixth with a time of 19:15.27. She was followed Meagan Smith 10th, Emma Gilmore 13th, Abbie Oliver 15th, and Kati Heil 26th.

The men were led by Gavin Galanes who finished 13th with a time of 27.08.50. He was closely followed by Cole Cisneros in 19th.

Starting his third year on the team, junior Lucas Prather said he is going into the season with a positive, motivational outlook for not only himself but the team as well.

“We’re working our way up slowly but surely,” Prather said. “I think everybody gave a good effort. We all knew it would be hot and we still started out the meet with a positive attitude.”

This race comes only two weeks before the team’s big meet at the Notre Dame Invitational, where more than 100 teams meet to compete in a three-part race.

The EIU meet was just a step in the right direction toward meeting their overall goal.

“I was more excited for the team results,” Prather said. “I was just really happy with everyone’s performances. It just tells me we are all going to be confident and continue to work our way up for OVC.”

Head coach Jenny Severns says there are some goals to meet this week – stick together to run faster and always be confident.

“On both the men and women’s side they did really well,” Severns said. “On the women’s side they were all struck by the heat, and while it impacted certain people more than others, they knew exactly how to run out, pace themselves and end strong. I am proud of the whole team.”

Prather says his motivation comes from purely wanting to be there.

He said he leads by example and hopes his motivation will lead others to be excited and have a positive attitude for the season.

“This year we are all about improvement and doing better year to year,” Prather said. “I can only hope that I continue to improve and so does the team.”

The Racers will be back in action at the Austin Peay Invitational in Clarksville, Tenn., on Sep. 19 and then the team will travel to the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. on Oct. 3.


Story by Kelsey Randolph, Contributing writer


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