Cross country looking to carry momentum into GLVC Championship on Saturday


Photo by Don Adams Jr.

Team captain Ben Stasney runs during a cross country meet for Lindenwood’s men’s team.

Dominic Hoscher, Sports Editor

After multiple strong performances in the West Divisional, men and women’s cross country will be heading back to Elsah, IL for the GLVC Championship on Saturday. 

“I would say the team is feeling pretty strong right now,” junior team captain Ben Stasney said. “We won our division, and though there are some strong teams coming over from the other division for conference, we are all confident that we can come out on top once again if we all perform well.”

The West Divisional, which was Lindenwood’s last meet on Oct. 9 in Elsah, also consisted of Southwest Baptist, Drury, Missouri S&T, Maryville, Truman State, and Rockhurst.

Lindenwood had a number of key contributors such as Louis Moreau who finished first in the 8k with a time of 25:59.13. He wasn’t the only underclassman that had a strong race for the Lions in the event, as freshman Bramwell Havi also placed in the top three.

On the women’s side, it was Najwa Chouati who led the way with a seventh place finish in the 6k. She was followed up by Rachel Morrison who placed 12th overall, and then Kirsten Huffman and Courtney Reid to round out the top 25.

Stasney also had a strong day, finishing sixth in the 8k with a time of 27:06.41.  

“Some of the positives I saw from last meet were definitely the strength of our freshmen and how they were able to perform above and beyond for the team, and also I got to see exactly how good our top man Louis is,” Stasney said. “After running a serious team race, I know that Louis has the potential to be individual champion, and we have the potential to put a lot of guys in the all-conference line.”

Moreau also had a first place finish on Sept. 25 in the GLVC Dual Meet against Maryville to go along with his outing in the West Divisional.

Along with the positives, Stasney also knows that there are still ways in which his team could improve ahead of Saturday.

“As a team, I believe we could improve on our ability to work together through the race,” Stasney said. “In the divisional race, Edward [Kipruto] and I stayed together and helped each other out for most of the race, but Bramwell and Timmy [Maxwell] also have the potential to be closer with us, so our pack can be even more fierce.”

Lindenwood’s captain will be running in the 8k on Saturday along with six others: Moreau, Kipruto, Maxwell, Benjamin Evers, and William Wallis. For the women’s team, Stasney believes their lineup will consist of Chouati, Morrison, Huffman, Nadia Pulliam, Courtney and Sydney Reid, and Athena Viers.

If they can keep the mentality they have had all season long, Stasney is confident in what his team can do come Saturday in Illinois.

“There’s really no way to be sure exactly how everyone is feeling, but I think I pretty much speak for everyone when I say that we truly believe we can win,” Stasney. “Not that it will be easy by any means, but it is definitely possible if we perform the way I know we can.”

Practices for this season started around Aug. 24, with the first meet coming a month later in the Dual Meet. In the time between that first day of practice and now, Stasney believes the team has come a long way not just in terms of competing, but in areas that carry even greater importance.

“I think since practice has started, everyone individually has improved a ton with their own physical shape and mental toughness, but more than that, we have grown close as a group of not only teammates but a band of brothers with a common goal in mind,” Stasney said. “As we grow closer our Wolfpack grows stronger, and I think the desire to have each others’ backs out there will really help during race time.”

The GLVC Championships will be the penultimate competition of the season for Lindenwood cross country, with their final meet being on Nov. 7 in the GLVC Open. And in the final weeks of the season, the team is aware of the magnitude of their upcoming meets, starting on Saturday.

“This is definitely the most pressure any meet will have on us as a team,” Stasney said. “This one is for the title and the stakes have never been higher. Especially since we won the division, I think we all have pretty high hopes for ourselves, and therefore a lot of pressure as well. However, similar to how pressure can turn coal into diamonds or diamonds to dust, it is how well we can handle the pressure that will determine the outcome.”