By Olivia Evans
On Friday, September 27th, Mizzou will host its first home cross country meet at the new Gans Creek Cross Country Course. There will be a dedication ceremony by the city of Columbia before the men run an 8k and the women run a 6k race early Friday evening.
The Columbia Parks and Rec Director Mike Griggs has been working together with Mizzou Athletics and head coach Marc Burns to achieve the success of this project. It was first proposed about seven years ago but wasn’t doable at the time.
“About two years ago they came back to us with this land and were wanting to do it and asked us if Mizzou would be interested in partnering with them to do this course and of course we jumped at the idea,” Burns said.
Prior to having Gans Creek the Tigers used to host meets at Gustin, the golf course on campus, but haven’t hosted a home meet in the last six or seven years.
“It’s a great course for training but it’s so hilly people stopped wanting to race it,” Burns said.
Coach Burns and assistant coach Stephen Smith led the way on the development of this course.
“We came out here literally with a gator and a GPS and figured this course out. Driving through five-foot-high grass and falling in ruts. We wanted to figure out a course that would be challenging but fair, spectator-friendly and good wide turns,” Burns said.
Construction began early January 2019 and was completed in mid-September. There is still hope for further expansion of the course and development in the future. This course is being considered a championship-level course and will be in the bid to host both SEC Regional Meet as well as NCAA National Championship in the near future. In the meantime, it will be the host of the Missouri State High School meet. Events like this will help to economically boost the city of Columbia.
“This course is great for lots of reasons, financial reasons, pride, home course, hosting big meets and recruiting. Everybody needs a home course,” Burns said.
Check out the audio link to this story here: https://soundcloud.com/user-344691335/gans-creek
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org