Missouri freshman finishes strong at cross country National Championships

Monday, November 23, 2009 | 9:32 p.m. CST

Missouri's Kaitie Vanatta had a strategy and stuck to it. The result capped a superb cross country season for the freshman.

Vanatta finished 54th in 254-athlete field Monday at the National Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. She was the fifth freshmen to finish the race.

"Coming into the national meet, it is such a different experience," Missouri coach Rebecca Wilmes said. "Nothing you do can really fully prepare you for it, so that is what makes it even more exciting because Kaitie is just a freshman. At one point it looked like she was in about 100th place, but she made up a lot of ground from there. She stayed composed and stuck to her race strategy. It was just a really great day for her."

She started the race conservatively, but gained ground during the final 2,000 meters. Her time of 20:57:40 was the team's best since 2003.


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