On Saturday, Oct. 22, the men’s and women’s cross-country teams traveled to Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) and competed in the Great American Conference GAC Championship.
The Lady Bisons finished second out of the 11 teams represented in the conference, with five runners that placed in the top 24. The men’s team also placed second of the six teams represented in the conference, with seven runners placing in the top 19.
The women placed 20 points behind East Central University (ECU), and the men placed 21 points behind ECU. They placed first in both events.
Senior Caitlyn McMinn competed in a 5k, which she ran in 19:37. McMinn placed 23rd, bringing in 17 points.
“I gave 100 percent,” McMinn said. “I was not very happy with my time or our performance as a team, but my 100 percent effort is all my coach and team ask for.”
According to McMinn, the women would have been more successful if they had utilized each other more during the race.
“In the stress of an important race we forgot about each other,” McMinn said. “We got into the situation and just panicked. We forgot to pack run, which has been a goal this entire season.”
According to McMinn, ECU’s competitors were focused, but their performance was flawed.
“Their focus allowed them to attack the course aggressively,” McMinn said. “They did not encourage each other during the race like we do. We have more of a team mindset during the race rather than just in practice.”
Senior Amber Webb placed third for the Lady Bisons and 18th overall, bringing in 12 points with a time of 19:23.
“To be honest, the conference race did not accurately represent the runners and the team I know we are,” Webb said. “The outcome was not what we had hoped for, nor what we pictured while enduring all the hard work. Saturday’s race did not portray our potential, however, I’m extremely proud of our team and how far we have come.”
According to Webb, the competitive spirit of the women’s team will motivate them to do better in regionals.
“We are all so competitive,” Webb said. “Finishing second at conference is not how we wanted to finish the season. It only encourages us to refocus and work harder for regionals. We want to show everyone our true potential and that Harding’s runners work hard.”
Sophomore Camden Barrett, placed second for Harding, ninth overall, bringing in eight points with a time of 25:34, for the men’s cross-country team.
“Our team raced competitively,” Barrett said. “Even after winning races we reflect on what to do better next time. We can be happy with our performances, but not satisfied. After losing to East Central for our third consecutive year, it was hard to swallow. I do believe Harding is and was the better team out there. East Central just got the better of us on that day.”
The men’s and women’s cross-country team will compete again on Nov. 5 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the NCAA Central Region Championship.