By Steve Holt, Sports Writer
Junior transfer Adeh Mwamba placed fourth Saturday to lead the ACU women’s cross country team to a 10th-place finish at the Missouri Southern State University Stampede in Joplin, Mo. Mwamba was the No. 1 Wildcat finisher, covering the 5,000-meter course in 16:55.57.
The next ACU finisher was sophomore Olha Kryv’yak, who placed 12th with a time of 17:54.00, followed by junior transfer Trina Cox in 23rd with a time of 18:25.10.
The young Wildcat women’s team finished 10th in the team standings with 248 points, but was hurt by a disappointing 164th-place-finish by an injured No. 4 runner Abbie Waters. The University of Oklahoma women took first, followed by the University of Arkansas.
Head cross country coach Jon Murray said Mwamba started the race running with the eventual winner, but fell off the pace to finish fourth. The former South Plains College star, who claimed two NJCAA individual cross country titles in Levelland, is one of two or three who could be contenders at the Division II national championships in November.
“Adeh went out really fast, but still ran a really good race,” Murray said. “We’re doing great through our top three runners.”
Despite the success of the top three Wildcat runners, Murray said the team will need to overcome a significant time gap between the Nos. 3 and 4 runners. But help could be on the way, said Murray.
“I think there’s a couple things that will change,” Murray said. “One of those will be Abbie Waters. That could be a big swing.”
Junior Mollye Stanford finished 112th in the race with a time of 20:35.72, followed by Denise Morgan in 120th. Despite some injuries and disappointing times, Murray is optimistic about the rest of the season.
“Hopefully, we can get Abbi back and keep moving our other runners up, and then I think it can be a really good season,” he said.
The men’s and women’s teams will be back in action Saturday at the Oklahoma State Cowboy Invitational in Stillwater, Okla.