NEW ORLEANS – In May of 2011, the town of Joplin,
Missouri, was leveled by an EF-4 tornado, the second-strongest
classification. The nearly mile-wide funnel blasted a six-mile-wide
path through the city, killing 158 people and injuring over 1,000
citizens. The tornado demolished over 8,000 schools, homes, and
businesses in its deadly path.
With this year’s NCAA Division II Cross Country national championships being held in Joplin, the USTFCCCA (United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) saw an opportunity to clearly demonstrate what the concepts of Division II—SERVICE, BALANCE, RESOURCEFULNESS, LEARNING, SPORTSMANSHIP, and PASSION—truly mean.
The hope is that as the teams all gather in Joplin for the national championships, they will be bringing not only their running shoes and uniforms, but also a gift for the brave people of Joplin. The goal is to collectively raise $150,000 to be divided between the Joplin School District Fund and the Missouri Southern Tornado Relief Fund. Though it seems like an ambitious goal, it boils down to an average of only $600 per sponsoring institution per gender. The cross country coaches across the nation hope that the tenacity and willpower it takes to bring success in the athletic arena are the same qualities that will help them achieve this goal.
Chico State head coach Gary Towne sits on the Executive Committee of the Division II Cross Country Coaches Association and has been instrumental in making this worthy project a reality. He recently did some fundraising and was pleased to send a check for $1,000 on behalf of Chico State Cross Country to help. The Chico State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has also pledged to send an additional $100.
How You Can Help:
Mail checks to:
Missouri Southern Foundation
Missouri Southern State University
3950 East Newman Rd.
Joplin, MO 64801
Checks should be made out to Missouri Southern Foundation (in memo portion, you must write “XC Tornado Relief”)