No. 10-ranked Midwestern State packed it up to take a second-place finish in the Sikes Senter Cross Country Carnival Saturday morning at the former Clay County Country Club.
Central Oklahoma claimed the team title taking the first places led by individual champion Bailey Hawkins, who clocked a 23:25.30, but nine Mustangs would cross the finish line before the last Broncho counter. UCO edged the Mustangs by a slim four-point margin (32-36).
"I think if we would have gone out a little more aggressively, we could have made it a really good race," MSU coach Koby Styles said. "I wanted them to be really conservative from the get-go. They ran a hard 6K last week and turned around for another hard 6K today so I wanted them to ease up and move up through the pack. That's what they did. They ran the plan perfectly and we just ran out of room."
MSU's top four runners including juniors Ashley Flores and Janel Campbell and sophomore Kim and Michelle Krezonoski sat out the race while the remaining runners showed the depth of quality of Midwestern's distance program.
Freshman Brittany Adams (23:41.56), junior Abigail Gonzalez (23:42.97) and freshman Maira Salinas (23:45.13) all clocked personal best performances to place fourth, fifth and sixth respectively while freshmen Tylo Farrar (23:52.94) and Ana Lopez (24:19.49) took ninth and 14th respectively to account for Mustangs' counters.
"UCO is a very good team," Styles said. "They are one of the tops in the (MIAA) but I think if we would have went out a little more aggressively it might have been a different story. I was really, really happy with the way we ran. Our gap time was the shortest its been all year. That made me really happy and a lot of them ran faster than they did in Kansas even being conservative."
Senior Nadia Majed (16th/24:28.26), sophomore Cara Mack (18th/24:43.75), freshman Alex Kohrs (19th/24:52.27), senior Heather Owens (20th/25:06.73), freshman Carrie Finson (28th/25:56.35) and freshman Danielle Androes (32nd/26:47.23) rounded out the MSU lineup.
Southwestern Oklahoma State (68 points) took third behind UCO and Midwestern followed by Abilene Christian (101) and Texas-Dallas (138).
Midwestern enjoys a week off before competing in the Lone Star Conference Championships on Sat., Oct. 20 in Lawton, Okla.
Midwestern State's Caitlin Wallace and Shelbi Stewart combined for 25 kills but it wasn't enough to overcome Dallas Baptist's strong net play in a 25-17, 25-15, 23-25, 25-16 loss to the Patriots in non-conference play Saturday night at Burg Center.
The loss extended MSU's skid to three matches as the Mustangs dropped to 4-15 on the season, while DBU claimed its second straight win to improve to 11-5.
Wallace, a junior middle blocker from Amarillo, paced the team with 13 kills while committing four attack errors for a .273 hitting percentage while Stewart, a senior outside hitter from Pflugerville, put down 12 kills with two errors for an impressive .323 kill rate.
But Dallas Baptist worked the net for 10 total team blocks to force MSU into 24 attack errors. Sophomore middle blocker Markayla Benoit led the way with five total blocks while junior middle blocker Ashley Kay and sophomore middle blocker Tiara Iwegbu had four each.
The Patriots put together mid-set runs to win the first two stanzas before Wallace and Stewart combined for four kills to help MSU pull away for a tight 25-23 win in the third set.
DBU used a 6-0 run in the fourth to stretch a three-point edge into a 21-12 lead to close out the match.
Junior outside hitter/setter Courtney Haney turned in a solid effort with 10 kills, 17 set assists and eight digs while sophomore setter Kristan Aduddell added 25 set assists and nine digs.
Sophomore libero Casey Fletcher led back row efforts with 20 digs.
Freshman outside hitter Tadam Mergener and sophomore outside hitter Erika Papadeas led the Patriots with 14 kills each.
Midwestern State returns conference with a pair next weekend at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. The Mustangs host Angelo State Friday at 4 p.m. before battling Tarleton State Saturday at 2.