Tiger men win MIAA
Published on -10/21/2012, 7:55 PM
By The Hays Daily News
MARYVILLE, Mo. -- The Fort Hays State University men's cross country team did something special Saturday at the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Championship.
The Tiger men won the school's first conference championship in cross country since 1987 when the men won the Central State Intercollegiate Conference, and sophomore Cory Keehn also won the first individual league title since FHSU transitioned to NCAA Division II.
"It still hasn't really sunk in," FHSU cross country coach Jason McCullough said. "It still feels kind of weird that we won."
The No. 25 Tigers were considered the underdogs heading into the meet, but they managed to upset Missouri Southern State University and Southwest Baptist University, ranked No. 11 and No. 22 in NCAA Division II, respectively.
FHSU won with a team score of 64 -- 10 points ahead of SBU and 14 ahead of MSSU.
"It's something we've been striving for for a long time now," McCullough said. "We wanted to represent Fort Hays and do something special to make people remember."
Keehn led the way for FHSU, winning the meet with a 25-minute, 11.12-second finish on the 8,000-meter course.
The favorite heading into the meet, senior Phillip Miller of SBU, finished second with a 25:21.
"Cory just broke (Miller) in the middle part of the race, and he couldn't recover from it," McCullough said. "... (Keehn) had a goal in mind, and he's one of the hardest workers and most dedicated runners I know."
It was a true team effort, as FHSU's five scorers finished in the top 22.
Senior Alex Hendee was sixth in 25:43, and senior Tanner Christensen finished 17th in 26:12.
Juniors Chris Ramsgard and Michael Wolf placed 18th and 22nd in 26:13 and 26:22, respectively, ahead of SBU's and MSSU's fourth and fifth runners.
"The key was the entire team ran well," McCullough said.
Sophomores Jonny Bernasky and Nathan Purdue didn't factor into the team scoring, but broke 27 minutes and finished 30th and 36th in 26:36 and 26:45, respectively.
On the women's side, the Tigers placed eighth out of 12 teams with a team score of 205.
FHSU's top runner was sophomore Alex Nelson. She finished 20th in 23:32 on the 6,000-meter course.
Junior Gentry Linscott was 40th in 24:00, and freshman Ramsey McCarter was 44th in 24:11.
Juniors Marie Schaller and Kylie Gaughan, a Hays High graduate, rounded out the team scoring in 52nd and 53rd in 24:25 and 24:28, respectively.