On Sept. 10, The University of Southern Mississippi’s women’s cross country team took its younger members to Oxford. The Golden Eagles took on some respectable teams in this four-team, five kilometer meet.
“This meet is a great opportunity for some of our younger runners to get some big-time race experience and fill roles that they typically don’t find themselves in,” said coach Aaron Kindt.
As a group, Maggie Rice, Savannah McMillon, Chloe Tedder, Devin McGee and Rachel Tedder significantly dropped their team times, going from an average of 21.25 to a 19.31. Chloe Tedder led the Golden Eagle squad at 19:12. Notably, Madeleine Bell ran her first race of the season running a 19:38.
“Chloe Tedder really helped set the tone for our squad,” Kindt said. “Happy to see her hard work starting to pay off.”
The significant drop in times may have been caused by the Ole Miss and Southeast Missouri State teams who may have helped push the Golden Eagles. Ole Miss has received votes in the national rankings averaging an 17:26 as a team. Meanwhile, Southeast Missouri State dropped a team average of 17:54, which was 31 seconds faster than their team’s time last season in their conference championship.
The Golden Eagles finished third overall, beating Jackson State. Despite the third-place finish, the team impressed Kindt with new season bests.
“I am pleased with the poise and fight this young group displayed,” Kindt said.
The Golden Eagles still have a lot of running to do before the season is over. By the time conference rolls around, the team could potentially have four runners breaking or hitting just above the 18:00 mark. This does not include Dana Dillistone, who was named Conference Cross Country Female Athlete of the Week last week.
Next week, the Golden Eagles will travel to the LSU invitational. The LSU invitational has been traditionally a faster course and if the momentum of success continues, the Golden Eagles could find themselves running some personal bests.