Joplin, Mo. -- The 21st ranked Missouri Southern women's cross country program will start its trek to nationals Saturday as the Lions play host to the NCAA Division II Central Region Cross Country Championships at the MSSU Cross Country Course.
The Lions come into the race ranked fourth in the region and 21st nationally, but are coming off a thrilling MIAA Championship two weeks ago, the sixth in the program's history.
The top five women's teams from this region will advance to the National Championships on November 17 which will be again held in Joplin at MSSU. In addition to the the top five teams, the top 3-5 individuals not on an advancing team will also qualify for nationals.
The race is packed full of competition with eight nationally ranked schools coming to Joplin, including the No. 1 ranked and defending national champs Augustana. Winona State is ranked 13th, while the University of Mary is 17th. Southern is 21st, followed by Southwest Baptist (22nd), Pittsburg State (24th), Minnesota State (29th), and Minnesota-Duluth (31st).
The race will begin at 10:30 am Saturday morning.