The Fort Hays State men's and women's cross country teams travel to Joplin, Mo. this weekend (Oct. 26) for the 2019 MIAA Cross Country Championships. Missouri Southern will host the championship races at the Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course, located on the edge of the MSSU campus.
The women's six-kilometer race will open the festivities at 10 a.m. Saturday with the men's eight-kilometer championship following at 11 a.m.
The Tigers are quite familiar with the course in Joplin after running in events at MSSU three of the last four years.
Three of the four Tigers to earn All-MIAA honors a year ago look to duplicate the honor this year, with Israel Barco, Alex Barbosa and Justin Moore all placing in the top 20 in 2018. The men finished third at the 2018 conference championships, their second-best finish since joining the MIAA, while the women placed fifth a year ago.
Both the men's and women's squads have a pair of team titles this season after sweeping the Bronco Stampede and the ESU Invitational. The men's team heads into the weekend ranked fifth in the latest USTFCCCA Central Region rankings, third-highest amongst MIAA programs.
After traversing five-kilometer courses in their first three races, the women will tackle their first 6K race for of the season on Saturday. Brooke Navarro has the top 5K time for the Tigers this season, finishing eighth at the FHSU Tiger Open in a time of 18:32.3. Abigail Stewart was the top FHSU finisher in the first two races, placing second overall in both competitions.
The men will compete in one more 8K race this week before making the jump to 10 kilometers for the NCAA Central Regional. Robbie Schmidt's time of 24:57.6 at the FHSU Tiger Open is the best time for a Tiger this season, while Justin Moore and Israel Barco have also been in the top spot for the Tigers at some point this season.