Cross Country Squads Take On First SEC Championship

MUTIGERS.COM Hayden Legg and Max Storms led the way for the Tigers at Friday's SEC Championship Meet in Nashville.
Hayden Legg and Max Storms led the way for the Tigers at Friday's SEC Championship Meet in Nashville.

Men's Results          Women's Results

Oct. 26, 2012

Nashville, Tn. - The Tigers were faced, not only with a historical moment for the University of Missouri in the SEC, but also with a great opportunity to continue building the reputation of excellence for Mizzou Cross Country.  The Men came out with an impressive 3rd place finish, proving that they not only belong in the SEC, but can hold their own with some of the best programs in the nation.

"It was an exciting race, the guys battled from beginning to end.  I had some guys really step up today, Hayden Legg running up with Max, Blahnik right behind them rolling, it was really nice to see," Head Coach Joe Lynn said. "I thought Sam Dickerson came up big for us today.  Phil Bascio getting out there as a 5th year senior, he ran tough from beginning to end and I think he's really happy to be a part of this team and a big part of the success we've had this year."  

The Mizzou Men left with three 2nd Team All-SEC, three Freshman All-SEC honors, and six new PRs.  They were also the only team to put nine of their ten runners in the top 40, showing an impressive degree of depth as they continue into the post-season.  Hayden Legg (Mexico, MO) and Max Storms (Kansas City, MO) led the way for the Tigers, pushing each other to 8th and 9th place finishes, earning Second Team All-SEC honors. 

"I'm happy.  We ran as well as we could today.  We were right where he hoped we'd be with the finish," Legg said. "I'm feeling confident going into [Regionals], but we have to make sure to execute there too."

Legg crossed with a new PR of 24:08, with Storms close behind in 24:10.  Bryant Blahnik (Red Wing, MN) also earned Second Team All-SEC honors with an 11th place finish and 1-second PR of 24:24. 

"I knew it was going to be close for one of those All-SEC spots, and I had no idea where I was at the finish," Blahnik said. "I'm satisfied, I can't complain."

Fourth for the Tigers was Merid Seleshi (Ontario, Canada), who's 24:37 finish was good for 25th place.  He was followed closely by Sam Dickerson (Moberly, MO), who ran a PR of 24:44 to round out the Tiger scorers with 27th place.  Tyler Compton (Buffalo, MO) was the 6th man for the Tigers, earning 30th with a PR of 24:47.

"I think I battled really well, and our strength came out today," Storms said. "As a team, I think we ran awesome, especially Bryant and Sam [Dickerson] who stepped up in a big way for us."

The next three across the line for the Tigers were stand-out freshmen Joe McKenna (Madison, WI), 32nd in a PR of 24:50, Evan Chiplock (Saginaw, MI), 35th in 24:57, and two-time SEC Freshman of the Week Tyler Schneider (Schaumburg, IL), 38th in 25:02.  All three of these freshmen earned honors as Freshman All-SEC, taking three of the top five freshman places in the race.  Phil Bascio (Florissant, MO) finished up for the Tigers with a time of 25:35, taking 64th.

The women had a good start off the line with a tight lead pack, and finished with a 62-second spread to take 13th overall.  Bailey Belvis (Prosper, TX) once again led the way, holding with the leaders until about the two-mile mark, when the field began to string out.  She finished the 6K course in 21:35 to earn 35th.

"We got out there and we battled," Coach Lynn said. "Bailey did a great job of positioning herself and leading us throughout the day, Liz and the Courtney's ran pretty tough.  I thought Sam Garrett for being a freshman in her first conference championship ran very very well."

"We got out well, had a really good start to the race but I think we still have some things to work out near the end of the race," Belvis said. "It was cool to come here and represent Missouri in their first [post-season] Conference Championship." 

Close behind was Liz Reida (Springfield, MO), who crossed the line in 21:49 to earn 51st then Courtney Brown (Palatine, IL) in 62nd with 22:02.  Courtney Wood (Neosho, MO) and Sam Garrett (Columbia, MO) finished out the top five for the women, running 22:11 and 22:37 to finish 70th and 90th, respectively.

"We need to stay focused on ourselves.  We need not get caught up in other teams and what it's going to take to get to Nationals.  We just have to focus on ourselves and run to our potential in two weeks," Coach Lynn said.

Faith Summey (Eldoret, Kenya) was the sixth finisher for the Tigers, finishing in 22:47.50.  She was followed closely by Maria Effinger (Swansea, IL) who crossed in 22:48.66.  Brianna Westervelt (Kansas City, MO) and Ali Ross (St. Louis, MO) rounded out the Mizzou squad, finishing in 22:59.48 and 23:04.03, respectively.

The Tigers are back in training mode now as they prepare for the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship Nov. 9 in Springfield, MO.  Stay tuned to for more updates on the teams and follow us on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.



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