Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern cross country teams will travel west to Pittsburg to take part in the 2013 MIAA Cross Country Championships tomorrow hosted by Pittsburg State University.
The event will take place at Countryside Golf Course in Pittsburg with the women's race beginning at 10 am, and the men taking off at 10:45 am.
The Southern women come into the event as the defending champs, having won the event last year by six points over Southwest Baptist. Junior Dora Eastin has been the top runner for the Lions this year as the Neosho native has been the top finisher for Southern in every event, but one.
Having yet to run a 6k course, Eastin has two of the top three times in 5k courses this season for the Lions. She ran a 17:55.9 in the Southern Stampede and finished in a time of 18:19.9 at Missouri S&T. Emily Harris has the second-best time this season, completing the 5k course at the Southern Stampede in a time of 18:10.1.
The Lions' men finished third in the MIAA Championships last season, but went on to place second at the Central Regional and 8th at the NCAA Championships, both events being held in Joplin. The Lions come into the MIAA Championships ranked second in the Central Region and tenth in the Division II National Poll.
Eric Schott has been the Lions top runner this season as the junior from Cape Girardeau has been named both MIAA and National Cross Country Runner of the Week at some point this year. He has two of the Lions' top 8k times this season, turning in a time of 24:22.6 at the Southern Stampede and a 25:00.9 at the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville. Senior Jake Benton has the Lions' second-best 8k time this year with a mark of 24:40.5 at the Stampede.
The Southern women have won five of the last seven MIAA titles in Cross Country, while the men have won eight of the past 13 events.