Cross country runners show growth at Emporia, post personal bests

The men’s and women’s cross country teams may not have placed first in last weekend’s meet in Emporia, but they did have four runners record their personal best times.

The women placed seventh as a team and were led by freshman Mary Loveland who recorded a personal best time of 20:24. Junior Amber Keith took second on the team with a time of 20:44. Juniors Ari Penner and Shawnee Barron and sophomore Kelsey Heckathorne recorded personal bests with times of, 20:59, 21:28 and 22:02, respectively.

Freshman Chelsea Twietmeyer, who suffers from exercise-induced asthma, fell behind from her usual front-of-the-pack spot after having complications with her allergies.

“I take an inhaler before every practice and every race, and it’s something I’m prepared for, but in Emporia there was a lot of grass being kicked up by runners, and the weather was warm,” Twietmeyer said. “My throat started to close up, and in a situation like that you’re supposed to be calm, but that’s hard when you’re in the middle of a three-mile race. It can get really scary really fast if you’re not prepared for what could happen.”

Twietmeyer said despite the problems with allergies, the women’s team has been working hard and still expects to peak at the end of the season. “A lot of us haven’t been running as well as we thought we would, mostly because of the mileage we’ve been putting in,” she said. “When our weekly mileage starts dropping, our times will start dropping because we’ll be on fresh legs.”

Senior Andrew McGregor led the men’s side to ninth place with a season best of 29:23.

“On our guy’s side, we were missing (junior) AJ Jimenez because of a calf strain, so that pushed us back a little missing one of our top runners,” head coach Zach Kindler said.

Not far behind him was freshman Chris Scheideman, who finished with a time of 29:53.

Junior Zac Towns said the team has continued to improve throughout the season, and a lot of its improvement can be attributed to Kindler’s coaching.

“Our coach made us tell him our goals at the beginning of the season and he’s really helped us work toward those,” he said. “We’ve shown a lot of improvement.”

Both teams do not compete this weekend, which Kindler said is a good thing because the most challenging courses are still to come.

“I still think we’ll run our best at conference and region,” he said. “It’s kind of tough to say that because the conference meet is going to be a lot more challenging. Time wise it might not show, but we’ll be better.”