SSU women’s XC races to MSC crown, top-20 in nationals


PORTSMOUTH — The women’s cross country program at Shawnee State enjoyed a strong season of improvement during the 2019 season, jumping eight spots at the NAIA National Championships while taking home its 10th consecutive Mid-South Conference championship in as many seasons competing in the MSC in the sport.

Additionally, Brooke Smith — who finished 13th at the NAIA National Championships — earned NAIA All-American honors to cap off a season where she won Mid-South Conference Runner of the Year accolades and led three All-MSC honorees.

To start off the year, Shawnee State finished third in the Mid-South Conference Preview Meet.

Marissa Smith and Jessica Price finished with sub-20 minute times that led the way for the Bears, as Smith finished second with a 19:03 while Price finished fourth with a 19:30.

In the All-Ohio Championships, Brooke Smith and Marissa Smith ended up leading the way for Shawnee State as the pair finished with times in under 25 minutes.

Marissa Smith finished ninth with a time of 22:34 at the All-Ohio Championships, while Brooke Smith and Marissa Smith each finished inside the top-15 in the #JennaStrong Fall Classic with times of 18:15 (third) and 19:03 (14th).

At the MSC Championship Meet, the Bears finished up another excellent campaign by winning their 10th consecutive conference championship crown in as many seasons in the conference.

Smith, who ran an 18:21, won MSC Runner of the Year honors while Price, who followed Smith with an 18:57, joined her teammate by taking home first-team All-MSC honors.

Jessica Cook, who finished eighth with a 19:44, took home second-team All-MSC accolades while Olivia Messer and Marissa Smith posted times of 20:32 and 20:35 to round out the scoring with 17th and 18th-place finishes.

Academically, Abigail and Sydney Osborn, Brooke and Marissa Smith and Mallory Spencer were able to walk away with honors.

Price was nominated by her teammates and coaching staff as the team’s Mid-South Conference Champions of Character for her hard work and determination throughout the year.

Half of the MSC Runner of the Week awards belonged to Bear runners, with Marissa Smith winning one and Brooke Smith the other three.

With 10 of the team’s 14 members being of sophomore or younger status, Shawnee State will look to improve further and develop a consistent set of scorers for the fall of 2020 and beyond.

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. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club.

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