Vincent Kiprop finds success as member of the cross-country team

Vincent Kiprop came to the United States in search of an education, as well as a chance to compete against some of the best runners in the world.

At Missouri Southern, he’s on pace to receive both.

Kiprop, the second eldest of six children, hails from Kericho, Kenya – a town in western Kenya with a population of more than 150,000 people. He began running at 13 years old, excelling at track and field at Londiani Boys High School. While he did all his running on his own without the benefit of a coach, he eventually caught the eye of a coach who not only noticed his abilities in running, but also in the classroom.

“He told me he wanted to introduce me to a coach that would help me find a scholarship to a U.S. school,” Kiprop said. “That way I would be in a place that was competitive and I can do both my studies and running.”

He had a friend that had planned to go to Missouri Southern, but was unable to attend. Kiprop did some research about the university and liked what he saw.

“I went on the school’s website and instantly my heart felt this was the right place for me,” he said. “I emailed back and forth with Coach (Schiding) and it was a short process before I was making plans to come here.”

As a freshman nursing major, he was named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Male Cross Country Student-Athlete of the Year for Division II. He started his collegiate career by winning his first meet in a very competitive Missouri Southern Stampede. He went on to place 11th in a field of mainly Division I runners at the University of Arkansas’ Chili Pepper Invitational and then was a second-place finisher at a meet at Missouri S&T. That meet would be the last meet he would lose until the National Championship.

He went on to win the MIAA Championships, the NCAA Central Region meet and finish as the national runner-up at the 2015 NCAA Division II National Championship, a meet hosted by MSSU in Joplin. The runner he finished second to at the NCAA Championships, Alfred Chelanga, is also a Kenyan, and also a true freshman like Kiprop.

Kiprop went on to win every event he ran in during the 2016 indoor regular season, including winning the MIAA titles in both the 3,000 meter and 5,000 meter, but just missing out on All-American honors at the NCAA Championships. Moving on to the outdoor season, Kiprop won his first race (5k) at Southwest Baptist and placed in the top 12 of two prestigious meets (Mt. Sac Relays and the Drake Relays). He won three separate events at the 2016 MIAA Outdoor Championships (5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and the 3,000-meter steeplechase), earning him the MIAA High Point Award for the meet. That award goes to the individual that scores the most points at the event.

The pinnacle of his freshman campaign came at the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships, where he blew past his competition to win the Division II National Championship in the 10,000 meter. He finished 10 seconds in front of the second-place runner and he was 42 seconds in front of Chelanga, the national champion in cross country. Most recently, Kiprop was a repeat champion at the 2016 MIAA and NCAA Division II Central Regional Meets – the latter of which he won by a margin of 1:23 and was named the NCAA Central Region Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year for the second-straight year.

He has continued his pace by winning the first two events of the 2016 cross country season by margins of 47 and 42 seconds, respectively. Kiprop credits much of his success with the talent of his teammates. Without them, he would not be pushed as much as he has been.

“This year, we have the ability to be a pretty good team,” he said. “This team’s work ethic is outstanding and everyone is very passionate about running. When we do our workouts everyone pushes everyone and when that is happening, the whole team moves forward.

“I have always had the spirit to work hard, no matter what the circumstance. Nothing is impossible in life. So long as you have the will and the power, you can achieve it.”

Athletics Fall 2016

Logan Moon steps up for first season with Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Batter Up!

In June of 2014, Logan Moon – then a senior centerfielder for the Lions – was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the sixth round of the first-year player entry draft.

In short order, he found himself playing rookie ball in Burlington, N.C. He skipped advanced rookie ball the next year, playing the following season for the Wilmington Blue Rocks – an advanced Single-A team in Wilmington, Del.

He played with the Kansas City Royals during five spring training games and was assigned to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals – a Double-A team in Springdale, Ark. From there? Moon says he’s more focused on playing his best, but he knows what the stakes are.

“Thinking long term is tough in baseball. There are so many different scenarios that can happen,” he said. “Obviously, the next step is working hard and eventually move up to AAA. After that, you either go to the majors or you’re done. Those are the biggest and hardest steps to make.”

Moon recently spoke with Crossroads about playing for the Naturals.

On playing AA baseball

“Double A is where it starts to get as competitive as it can get. It’s tough, and it’s a good league to judge for yourself if you can actually play for the Major League. About 15 of the guys I’ve faced pitching-wise made their Major League debuts this year.”

“It’s tough, but that’s what the Double-A and Triple-A coaches are for … they’re there for our development to make better players. They know what it takes and want the best for us. They do what they can to make sure we’re taking the right steps and doing the right things to become major league ballplayers.”

Missouri Southern’s coaching staff

“I still have an amazing relationship with the coaching staff. Even though I was there just one year, they made me feel like I had already been there for three. I still talk to those guys every week – about personal things, family and friends. But also we talk about what the Royals have been teaching me, what I’ve learned to do in this or that situation. We’re constantly talking about baseball.”

Staying connected with fans

“Springdale is a pretty big town and the fans are awesome. But I run into a lot of people who come down to say hi, who tell me they’re going to Missouri Southern, or that they have family in Joplin. That kind of thing is cool.”

Alumni Athletics Fall 2016

Rob Corn among Hall of Fame inductees

When you think of MSSU basketball, you think of Rob Corn – a vital part of the program for 17 years. On Sept. 24, he joined his father – Robert Corn – as one of the newest members of the Missouri Southern Athletics Hall of Fame.

Rob is a part of the game day rituals for the team and is always the first to congratulate a player when they make a great play and the first to offer a hand on the shoulder when they’re down. His pride for Missouri Southern is second-to-none and his loyalty to the program is just as strong.

At the induction ceremony, current Lions head coach Jeff Boschee delivered the induction speech. Other coaches that Rob has interacted with over the years (Bill Self – Kansas; Paul Lusk – Missouri State; Chris Lowery – Kansas State; Kim Anderson – Missouri; and Mike Krzyzewski – Duke) sent a congratulatory video. Rob’s older brother, Scott, helped Rob deliver his acceptance speech and put into words what Rob was feeling that day.

Also inducted into the Hall of Fame were Amanda Zook (women’s soccer, 1999-2002); Allen Barbre (football, 2003-06); and Matt Meyr (baseball, 2000-01).

Amanda Zook

Amanda Zook (Women’s Soccer – 1999-2002) Zook becomes the first MSSU women’s soccer player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Zook was a member of the inaugural Lions women’s soccer team that debuted in 1999. A native of Lee’s Summit, Mo., Zook played in all 72 games in the Lions’ first four years as an intercollegiate program. A defender, Zook was a four-time All-MIAA performer. She resides in the Kansas City area and is currently employed by UnitedLex as a Human Resources Manager.

Allen Barbre

Allen Barbre (Football – 2003-06) Barbre was a consensus All-American, All-MIAA and All-Region first-team selection in 2006. He finished with a career-high 94 knockdowns at left tackle and also excelled on the punt coverage unit, coming up with seven solo tackles. Barbre was drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He played for the Pack from 2007-2010. He played for the Seattle Seahawks and the Miami Dolphins during the 2010 season and then was back with Seattle for the 2011-2013 seasons. He has since been playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, where he is a starter at left guard.

Matt Meyr

Matt Meyr (Baseball – 2000-01) Meyr was a two-year player for the Lions, roaming the outfield after transferring to Southern from Forrest Park Community College in St. Louis. He was the 2001 Ken B. Jones award winner which is given annually to the top student-athlete in all of the MIAA. That season, Meyr was second in the MIAA in batting average (.457) and that mark still stands as the third-best ever single-season mark in MSSU history. He is currently a high-school math teacher at Galena High School where he is the head basketball coach and assistant baseball coach.

Athletics Fall 2016

MSSU increases rosters for football, soccer teams

More athletes are competing on Missouri Southern teams this fall thanks to a new recruitment effort by the Athletics Department and the Office of Admissions. This year’s total number of Missouri Southern football players is 141, compared to 101 last year.

See the 2016 football roster. 

“Having more guys out there helps with many things,” said MSSU Head Football Coach Denver Johnson. “Most of these players will redshirt this fall. Some will play, but just having the numbers speeds up practice and provides depth not only for the varsity squad but also for the scout team.”

A total of 37 total soccer players were on the roster this season, compared to just 18 the year before. “My reasoning for having a larger roster is two-fold,” said MSSU Head Soccer Coach Chris McNaughton. “Injuries occur in college athletics and having a larger roster will allow us to absorb any injuries we incur and continue training and competing.”

See the 2016 soccer roster.

Athletics is routinely the “front porch” for many colleges, said Director of Athletics Jared Bruggeman. “It’s no different here and one of our obligations to the university is to drive and grow enrollment,” he said.

Athletics Fall 2016 Student Features

DR. Hal Bodon — Lion-Hearted Award

Dr. Hal Bodon was the first head coach of the Missouri Southern men’s soccer program, after introducing the sport as a club in 1972.

The team’s first games as an official athletic program were played in 1976 and he served as the head coach for 11 seasons. He had a career record of 138-72-21, resulting in a .637 winning percentage.

As an instructor, Bodon taught French and German, theories of second language learning and oral communication. He chaired the annual Foreign Language Field Day for several years and helped to establish Missouri Southern’s annual Honors Convocation.

Following his retirement in 1996, he and his wife worked as missionaries in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. From 2010-12, Bodon served as director of the Huntsman World Senior Games Soccer Tournament in St. George, Utah, and also as an adjunct professor at Dixie State University.

In 1998, a dedication was held for the Hal Bodon Soccer Field at Missouri Southern. He was inducted into the MSSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.

Alumni Athletics Fall 2016