BOWLING GREEN, KY. — As she did so often while running for Logan High School, Marissa Smith finished first last weekend.
This time, however, the 2017 LHS graduate won the Mid-South Conference women’s cross country championship and helped her Shawnee State team claim the conference crown last Saturday in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Smith earned MSC Runner of the Year laurels as she ran the BG course in 19:01.3 to take the women’s individual title.
Teammates Jessica Price (19:20.9) and Jessica Cook (19:29.8) were second and third, respectively, as the Bears scored 31 points to finish 13 points ahead of runner-up Cumberland (Tennessee).
Shawnee State thus continued its Mid-South Conference dominance since the Bears joined the league in 2010. SSU’s women have won nine titles in a row while the men, who also won on Saturday, have claimed eight of nine.
Smith earned MSC All-Academic honors and, just last month, was named MSC “Runner of the Week.”
While running in purple and white, Smith made three-straight trips to the Division I regional cross country meet and, as a junior, became just the fourth Logan girl — and the first in 16 years — to reach the state meet. She finished 72nd (19:43.8) out of 142 runners in the 2015 event at National Trail Raceway.
As a junior, she set the LHS girls cross country record with an 18:53 clocking in a meet at Thomas Worthington, besting a long-standing Lady Chiefs record for a standard-distance 3.1-mile course.
One of the most determined and hardest-working athletes LHS has produced in recent years, Marissa overcame an iron deficiency as a freshman that nearly derailed her career. But once that issue was diagnosed and resolved, her prep career took off, and she stood out in both cross country and track and field, qualifying for Division I regional competition eight times in a number of different track events.
Both of Shawnee State’s teams qualified for the NAIA Cross Country National Championships to be held next Saturday, Nov. 17, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.