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Reviewin' & Previewin' - Cross Country and Indoor Track

This week, the previewin' and reviewin' is going to be a little different, as I am going to tackle four different teams.  First off, did you know the fall season only has five sports? (Football, soccer, volleyball, men's and women's Cross Country).  Interesting that the other 15 sports Mizzou has participate in the other two seasons.  Anyway, Cross Country brings an end to the fall season, while Indoor Track opens the winter season.  This one will have a little bit of a different feel as it is tough to attach any sort of numbers to these sports (breaking the heart of The Boy I realize), but let's get to it and see how things stack up for the Tigers in 2009.  We will get it going with Cross Country.

2008 - In Review

For the men, it was a pretty solid season out on the terrain.  They were lead early by some of their senior runners, but saw a lot of younger talent come on at the end of the season.  Departing senior Michael Barrows led the group to start the campaign, and received some help from another graduating senior in Brian Graybill.  However, by the end of the season, the group was led by departing senior Garrett Jeffries who continued the streak of the men's team sending someone to the NCAA Championships. Once Jeffries was healthy and in the lineup, he led the Tigers in their last five meets, including the Big XII's and NCAA Regional Meet, where he placed high enough to earn All-Region.  The team itself would win the Missouri Cross Country Challenge, while placing a pretty solid 5th in both the Big XII Championships and NCAA Regional.  We will have more on the returners in a bit, but the Tigers and coach Jared Wilmes used a lot of different runners on the season, with 16 seeing time. (Tim Cornell is the last of the four seniors who will be graduating)

For the ladies, 2008 was a bit of a transitioning time, as they only had one senior seeing action in Angela Potrykus.  Of the 12 harriers on the team, only eight saw action, with one of those only being used sparingly.  The team would be led by youth all season long, as their top four runners at the Big XII's (12th) and five runners at the NCAA Regional (10th of 27) were underclassmen.  The team did win two competitions on the season (SIU Early Bird and Missouri Cross Country Challenge), and did have one individual winner in junior-to-be Kinsey Farren, who led the Tigers for much of the season.

2009 - A Look Ahead

Both squads have an exciting amount of talent and experience returning to the fields this season.  For the ladies, they should expect to be led once again by Farren.  She led Mizzou in all six races the team competed in and the only knock on her 2008 season was her not setting a new personal best in any of the races.  If she can start shaving some time down from her freshman season, the team can look forward to higher finishes.  She will be joined by a pretty young cast, including juniors Jessica Armstrong and Layne Moore.  These two took turns placing 2nd on the team behind Farren in the post-season and had some exciting performances from Moore, who PR'ed in both of the last two meets.  Achieving the same was now sophomore Laura Roxberg, who will likely be joined by classmates Aimee Bontee and Megan Kowalik, who did participate in two meets last season, while Bontee ran all season.  The Tigers will have but one senior returning who saw action last season in Emily Baker, who finished strong for Mizzou last season.  Junior Janelle Harrison and sophomore Ashley Mack could also see time this season.  Coach Rebecca Wilmes is also adding three pretty solid runners to the squad next season in Bailey Bevis (four-time Texas state champ), Brittany Tate (2007 MO state champ) and Katiie Vanatta (three-time COLORADO state champ, very impressive).  With all this talent and experience, I see the Tigers improving a decent amount on their finish of last season.

For the men, they will obviously be replacing their biggest piece from last season, but return a really nice core group of performers.  Finishing right behind Jeffries were a pair of (now) juniors in Philip King and Michael Pandolpho, who traded 2nd place finishes in the Big XII's and Regional while both PR'ed in their last race of the season.  They will be joined by classmates Dan Quigley, Ben Brammeier, Rick Scheff, Aaron Dixon and Kyle Rood to fill out quite the large junior class.  The team will be led by a senior Dan Hedgecock, who placed in the NCAA's back in 2007 and hopes to regain that form in 2009, along with another senior in Ben Wafe.  There was also a decent crop of freshman from last season in Philip Bascio, Stanton Ragland and Blake Irwin.  The team will also welcome a trio of Missouri-bred runners, featuring a pair of MO state champs in the awesomely-named Max Storms, Tyler Compton and rounded out with the aptly-named Hayden Legg.  With the amount of high placers returning from last year, the team has a lot to be excited about.  If Hedgecock can regain his 2007 form, this team should be able to repeat a very solid performance from last season.

2008/2009 Indoor Track - In Review

As the calendar turned from 2008 to 2009, the ladies set about another indoor track campaign.  In the past few years, the track community has seen a return/increase of scored team meets, giving programs a little more to work towards in what is very much an individual sport.  In the indoor season, an interesting wrinkle has been thrown in with combined teams from conference competing for bragging rights.  The Mizzou ladies more than held their own with their conference mates against both the SEC and MWC this season, being led by senior thrower Krishna Lee and senior middle distance specialist Shannon Leinart.  For the men, they were led by senior thrower Chris Rohr, along with junior pole vaulter Brian Hancock and multi-sport stars in junior Nick Adcock (especially in the hurdles this past season) and sophomore Lars Rise.

I'll be honest, and this might seem as a bit of a cop-out, but with a team of this size, breaking it down to the individual level is pretty darn tough.  Basically, the names above, along with senior Kaela Rorvig in the heptathlon were the shining stars for the Tigers.  As we turn our attention to the future, we must take notice that of the seven bolded names above, four of them were departing seniors.


2009/2010 - A Look Ahead

In contrast to the cross country teams, the indoor track program may be short of the stars it had this past season.  Rohr and Lee depart, paving the way for people like senior to be Andy Oaker and future sophomore Tim Opfer for the men and junior to be Katie Vandersall and future sophomre Melissa Coil for the ladies.  As you might expect, the Tigers continue to bring in big-time throwing talent, and this incoming class will be no different.  Coach Brett Halter will welcome two decorated athletes to each squad this winter, with the men brinigin in Corey Jones and Brooks Mosier.  Jones finished his high school career as the state record holder in the shot put and ranked second in the NATION in the event.  Mosier was only 14th in the nation in the same event, winning the shot in class 4 in 2008 (Jones is class 3).  Oh yeah, he won it while "badly injured" (from here) that year.  The women will enjoy the services of Katie Evans, the class 2 champion in the shot put and Kylie Jones (no relation to Corey) who was runner-up in the discus.  All four youngsters hail from Missouri.

Given the decent strength of the cross country program, as well as the middle distance discipline, it is not too far of a stretch to believe that new names will appear for the Tigers in 2009-10.  Hancock, Rise and Adcock all will return and should be expected to excel at the conference and national level.  Sophomore Stacy Swineburg will look to improve upon her solid freshman campaign in the high jump while classmate Leslie Farmer will try to do the same in the 600 meter, along with returning senior Emily Baker in some of the longer distance events.  With eleven seniors departing, and some who are very highly decorated both in the conference and nationally, expect the Tigers to fall off a bit from their national finish (the ladies placed 60th and the men a pretty impressive 20th).

Random Thoughts:

  • I really dont enjoy being hyper-critical of any of the Mizzou programs, but I found this pretty obvious as to why the basketball programs are going in different directions.  From the Ultimate Man-Cruch Collector we have this snipit:

Englishscope: "at the arena.. Third straight all nighter.. 100 3's 100 mids.. Wrkin while the weld is sleepin. Only ppl wrkin me, mj n shuttlesworth"

On the other hand, we get this from junior Amanda Hanneman on how her summer will stack up from her blog entry:

The first day back, we jumped right into the swing of things: 7:30 a.m. workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, including weights and cardio. Tuesdays and Thursdays are our conditioning days. We have had great attendance this year at workouts and we plan on having it like that the whole summer. The first day back was also the first day of summer school. My Classic Mythology class is at 9:50 to 11:50 a.m. everyday so I'm done for the day after Noon, which makes it perfect timing for some sun!

Now, Ms. Hanneman goes on to say everyone is giving 110 percent, and that is great.  I also assure you my pointing this out is in no way a shot directly at her.  It just is a very clear-cut look at why the programs are perhaps are where they are.

  • Nice to see Carl Edwards reach the winner circle for the first time THIS YEAR.  Still, he is 2nd in points in the Nationwide Series (127 back) and is still #6 in the Sprint Cup (before yesterday's race).
  • The Mets are up...the Mets are down...the Mets are up....the Mets are down...
  • I dont even know what to say about former Devil coach Brent Sutter quitting with a year left on his contract to simply move to take over Calgary.  I am sure the fine folks of In Lou We Trust will have more on this, but it just seems awfully strange.
  • Looks like football recruiting is picking up and hopefully some more young men will be casting their (unofficial) lot with the Tigers in the coming weeks.  I am very excited about "The Bezerker" coming on board already for 2011.
  • Excited for the NBA Draft, though I do NOT attempt any sort of beer draft along with it.