Cross Country Sets Standard for Future

The University of North Alabama cross country team competed in the ASUN conference meet on November 2 in Florida where they were ready to see where they matched up with the rest of the conference.

The women’s team came in off a performance last season where they finished sixth at the meet looking to improve from their performance last year. This year they finished in fifth place.

“This year we came in and we were fifth overall as a team,” said head coach Jeremy Provence. “We were six points away from being third place. If you know much about cross country and how it is scored that is very close. So, we realistically could have been third in conference which is a huge improvement from last year.”

A big contributor to the women’s’ running success was junior Kara Nix, who was one of two second team All-Conference runners.

“Individually I ran a lifetime PR which you can’t be upset about, “Nix said on her performance in Florida. “But even more so getting to watch the girls around me have a good day was very rewarding and I could not ask for a better feeling. Just going out and proving people wrong for under ranking us is a great feeling.”

The men traveled down for the same meet with the girls where they finished seventh at the meet. Junior Peyton Ewoldt gave some insight into what this race would mean for the upcoming years.

“The team did well especially with a majority freshman team,” Edwoldt said. “They were able to get their feet wet in championship racing and the upper classmen were able to hold their on weight. We didn’t have as good of a day as we could have, but it is a step in the right direction.”

Coach Provence echoed a similar message for the men’s performance.

“On conference day we just didn’t have a good day,” he said. “I think we finished seventh, but I feel like we should have finished fifth or sixth. We kind of fell off at the end of the race which was uncharacteristic of our guys for the year. Overall though we are making steps in the right direction.”

The Lions also attempted something new this season which had not been done in recent years when they hosted a meet at McFarlane Park. For Ewoldt, hosting an event was more memorable for him than most.

“My cross-country career began there, said Ewoldt. “It is really cool seeing my friends and family turn out and it just made the experience one I’ll never forget.”.

Coach Provence was glad that UNA was able to host an event for several reasons including exposure for the university.

“Exposure, it showcases the guys and girls to their classmates and professors,” said Provence. Not many people get to host meets. It also cuts travel costs along with allowing our runners to run on a course they train on. They know the ins and outs of that course and it allows for them to have a better day come race time.”

The future of both teams look bright as the women’s team will be returning four of their top five runners and will look fill open spots during the recruitment period. The guys will be returning several of their young freshman. Now with a year under their belts, the two teams will look to do great things in the fall of next year to improve on the results they produced for this season.

“The youth we have is exciting, “said Provence. “Knowing that we have these guys and girls coming back when we are already placing well it will only get better from here.”