SSU men’s, women’s XC head to Nationals


The men’s and women’s cross country programs at Shawnee State, by virtue of winning the 2019 Mid-South Conference Championships, will participate in their 14th and 11th NAIA National Championships, as a unit, in school history when the 2019 NAIA Cross Country National Championships officially get underway at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash. on Friday evening.

The women, who have qualified for each national championship since joining the Mid-South in 2010, will officially post their 10th consecutive appearance as a unit by racing in Friday’s meet. The women also qualified for the NAIA National Championships in 2008, which was the first team qualification in program history, Shawnee State’s women have accumulated six top-20 finishes in the history of the program, with their highest finish being a ninth-place in 2016.

As for the men, the male harriers qualified for their fourth consecutive NAIA National Championships as a unit and will make their 11th appearance over the last 12 seasons as a team by racing on Friday. In their 14 appearances as a team, the men have collected 10 finishes inside the top-20 overall, with six of those finishes coming inside the top-10.

On the men’s side of the spectrum, Seth Farmer has proven to be otherwordly throughout the 2019 season as the Bears prepare for a national championship push on that side of the coin.

Farmer, who has clicked off fast times of 24:36, 24:49, 24:50, and 24:57 during his career, will finish the year as the only runner in school history to record at least four top-15 times to date, and the senior from Piketon, who is the second-fastest runner in program history with his meet-winning 24:36 at the #JennaStrong Invitational back in October, needs to only shave five seconds off of his fast time to earn top honors as the fastest runner in program history.

Following Farmer, Steven Adams, Josh Metzung, Jonah Phillips, Aiden Kammler, Thryecton Deckard, Owen Reeher, Hunter Hoover, Hunter Bennington, and Chris Parsons — who have all finished inside or contended around the team’s top-seven range throughout the season — bring top-20 finishes at the Mid-South Conference Championships with them to the NAIA realm. Farmer’s 25:15, Adams’ 25:46, Metzung’s 25:53, and Phillips’ 26:07 made up the conference’s top-four overall, while Kammler (26:15), Deckard (26:16), and Reeher (26:22) made up the team’s top seven at the MSC Championships.

On the women’s side of the spectrum, Brooke Smith has run times of 17:59 (Greater Louisville Classic) and 18:15 (#JennaStrong Invitational) this season to lead the Bears with her own efforts after recovering in a valiant manner from injury in 2018. Smith currently sits as the fourth-fastest runner in program history — sitting behind only Sarah Biehl, Star Emmert, and Anna Havranek. The 2019 Mid-South Conference Champion, who ran a 18:21 in the 5K to win the women’s meet going away, needs to decrease her season-best 17:59 by 19 seconds to match Biehl’s all-time best mark of 17:40.

Behind Brooke Smith, Marissa Smith, Jessica Price, Jessica Cook, Olivia Messer, and Mckenna Pannell have all factored in the program’s top-five overall, with Marissa Smith having won the conference’s Runner of the Week Award on Sept. 30. Price (18:57) and Cook (19:44) finished second and eighth at the Mid-South Conference Championships, while Messer posted a strong 20:32 to help the Shawnee State women seal their 10th consecutive Mid-South Conference Championship. Pannell continued her own improvement by placing 25th with a mark of 21:04.

In addition to the accomplishments by both programs as a team, the women, following the conclusion of the race, will have officially sent at least one runner to the NAIA National Championships across 16 straight seasons, while the men will have sent at least two runners to the NAIA National Championships in 18 straight campaigns.

The 64th Annual NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championships will commence at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT while the 40th Annual NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT. The awards ceremony, which will be televised via Stretch Internet (but not the race itself), will be at approximately 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT inside the Vancouver Hilton Hotel Heritage Ballroom and can be watched at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/naia. It is free of charge.

For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears.

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