By Steve Holt, Opinion Editor
Led by senior Angie Waters and sophomore Cassie Chaffin, the ACU women’s cross country team placed third out of ten teams at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo., with 133 team points.
Waters was the top Wildcat runner, finishing 11th in 23:31.50 over the six-kilometer course. Her time was a personal best for the distance by over two minutes. Chaffin placed 20th in the race, with a time of 23:00.60. Other ACU finishers included Justine Nahimana (23rd) in 23:12.50, Abbie Waters (44th) in 23:54.80, Amie Lindley (61st) in 24:48.50 and Jodi Pelletier (74th) in 25:22.00. Jill Singleton and Amanda Maynard placed 84th and 111th, respectively.
Murray said Waters’ start gave her the confidence for the rest of the race.
“Angie had a huge race,” Murray said. “We were working on going out hard. She went out and stayed there.”
Waters said she was ‘very surprised’ when she saw the clock at the finish line, but that head coach Jon Murray gave her a lot of confidence going into the race.
ACU, ranked No. 4 last week in the Lone Star Conference South Central region, ousted two of the top three teams in the region on Saturday. Pittsburgh State, ranked first in the region last week, finished sixth, while No. 3 Truman State placed fourth behind the Wildcats. Pittsburgh State was also ranked No. 13 nationally.
Waters said the team’s finish on Saturday will serve as a catalyst for the rest of the season.
“We were all surprised,” Waters said. “Now we know we have a chance and that gives us confidence and excitement.”
Murray said the team met its goals perfectly.
“The reason we went up there was to see some of the region teams,” Murray said. “The results were positive and we are in a really good position.”
Southwest Missouri State won the team title with 23 points, and Harding University came in second with 77 points.
The women’s team will not race this weekend, but will compete again Oct. 5 at the Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla.
Murray said the team is making great strides toward their biggest goal, nationals.
“They’re progressing very well,” Murray said. “They’re goal is to get to nationals, and they are right on track to do that.”