DBU Cross Country Prepares for Conference Championship Meets
With the 2011 Heartland Conference Cross Country Championships on the horizon this coming weekend, the Lady Patriots are riding a four year Conference winning streak and the men are looking to make it a streak in 2011 after winning the Conference Championship in 2010.
The Lady Patriots are a completely different team than the one that took the course in 2010. Infused with youth, the ladies have spent the better part of 2011 training hard and establishing an identity for this year’s team. “We’ve got eight new ladies and seven returners, so we’ve got a lot of inexperience when it comes to the Conference Championships,” said Head Coach Jacob Phillips
. But he doesn’t expect that to be a problem. “If you look up and down this roster every single one of these ladies have been winners. They’ve come from winning high school programs, or they won a lot individually, or they have been a part of the tradition that we’ve set with these four straight Conference Championships.”
Leading the ladies all season has been freshman standout, Kelsey Bruce
. “Kelsey is a young lady that isn’t afraid of dreaming big and being bold, and with those two traits I believe she can be not just one of the top runners in our conference, but one of the top runners in the country, regardless of division,” said Phillips. Following Bruce this season has been a mix of Patriots, which Phillips believes is a positive. “We have great depth this year, more so than we’ve had in any of the previous four years,” he said. That depth is made up of Senior Linet Kibet
(5th place – 2010), JuniorsAshley Spivey
(13th place – 2010) and Lindsay Sanders
(13th place – 2009), Sophomores Julie Durrwachter
(7th place – 2010) and Molly Snook
(11th place – 2010), and Freshmen Glynnis Meade
, Sarah Rayas
, Katie Mark
, and Tiffany Brown
The men, who are coming off of only their second Conference Championship in the program’s history, have also spent 2011 trying to establish their identity. After being led by five different number one runners in 2010, the Patriots have had to battle the injury bug in 2011. “We’ve definitely had some tough luck as far as injuries and illness is concerned this season, but we’ve established a very strong front group of runners and have given some other runners the opportunity to step in and contribute, which will bode well for us during these Championships,” said Phillips.
The men have been led this season by Sophomore Joshua Pauley
. “When Josh came to DBU, one of his reasons was because he wanted to be the best runner he could possibly be. He’s spent the past year and a half doing everything he can to achieve that,” noted Phillips. Pauley’s jump from being the 7th man in 2010 to being a leader on the team in 2011 has been invaluable as top runners Jesse Benes
(9th place – 2010), Jordan Koser
(5th place – 2010),John Millsap
(4th place – 2010), and Jacob Phillips
(3rd place – 2010) have all battled injuries or illnesses this season.
Seniors Edwin Kiptoo
and Zach Morgan
(6th place – 2010) have been right behind Pauley for the majority of the season and both are expected to play significant roles in this weekend’s Conference Championships.
“We’re excited to see who will step up this weekend for the men,” said Phillips, “it’s one of those positions where we aren’t sure who will be racing and who will be on, but every guy on this team knows what our purpose is and understands what the Conference Championships are about; needless to say, I am very excited to see these men race.”
The 2011 Heartland Conference Championships are being hosted by Texas A&M International this Saturday, October 22nd. The ladies’ 6k Championship Race will start at 10:30AM and will be followed by the mens’ 8k Championship Race at 11:15AM.