Amanda Bales led the way to Missouri’s best cross country finish since 1984.
Bales earned All-American honors by finishing 23rd at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Waterloo, Iowa, on Monday. The Tigers finished 12th for their best finish since 1984, when they were seventh.
Bales, a sophomore, finished the 6-kilometer course in a personal record 20 minutes, 31.2 seconds. Bales’ finish is the highest for a Tiger since 1990, when Susan Bliss finished third.
Bales is the first MU cross country runner to earn All-American status since Ann Marie Brooks finished 28th in 2001. Bales finished one minute behind Shalane Flanagan of North Carolina, who won her second consecutive national title in 19:30.4.
Stanford scored 120 points to win the title, and the Tigers had 383.
Bales led five Tigers who finished with personal bests.
“I was obviously very happy with the way we ran today,” said Jared Wilmes, MU’s coach. “We thought that we could at least finish in the top 25 today with our team that seems to match up well with most of the teams there.
“But I didn’t think we were expecting anything this high.”
Junior Serena Ramsey finished 51st, one spot away from earning All-American honors, in 20:54.
Other MU runners were: Jill Petersen, 94th in 21:12.8; Valerie Lauver, 117th in 21:20.5; Katherine Bonugli, 198th in 22:01.7; Kristin Hansen, 210th in 22:10; and Sonya Yamnitz, 243rd in 22:56.2.
Ramsey, Petersen, Bonugli and Hansen set personal records.