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How Loras’ Kassie Parker Dominated the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship

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Both National Champs in the same week? Kassie Parker won the 2021 Women’s Individual National Title on Saturday by running a Division III course record down in Louisville.

Kassie made her way to the front of the race from the start and never looked back. She was joined by Evie Miller for about 3K of the race, which was the longest she had someone trailing her in a Division III race.

While it wasn’t the time she wanted to run that day, she’ll be back next year to take a stab at sub-20:00 for the 6K. Even after the victory, Kassie mentions it wasn’t the best-executed race and that leaves her excited for another attempt.

This was Kassie’s second time on D3 Glory Days as she was on the Track Contenders episode last spring.

In today’s episode, we go back to learn how a club team runner became a two-time national champion.

Kassie found herself at the University of Iowa and running on their club team and still wanted to be better at running. Her high school personal bests of 5:25 (1,500 meters), 11:39 (3,000 meters), and 20:20 (5,000 meters) didn’t get her much attention from around Iowa. Yet, her past visit to Loras kept coming back up.

She decided she would transfer to Loras and then took a look at the Division III record book. She quickly decided that she not only wanted to but was determined to break a Division III national record. She says she is unsure of where this confidence comes from but attributes it to thinking nothing is impossible to accomplish.

Once at Loras, she took the training well and began dropping big personal bests. The reality of what she was accomplishing so quickly did not set in as she thought it was normal to have 1+ minute PRs during the season. With these new PRs, she was ready to take on her first collegiate cross country season. It was evident that she was not afraid to mix up in the front pack and would find herself in the top five at most races. She ended that season at 31st place and earned her first All-America award.

Kassie is a unique national champion since she runs 5 days a week and cross-trains the other two. Her background in triathlons helps her while she cross-trains but is also a big catalyst to keeping herself healthy.

Kassie confirms she will be using her remaining eligibility (1 cross country season, 1 indoor season, 2 outdoor seasons) at Loras as a Graduate student.

We’re not sure D3 was ready to hear that news.

Listen now: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

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Thank you goodr

A huge thanks to goodr for coming on and partnering with us. I hope you were able to get a pair of sunglasses at the National Meet! If didn’t get a pair at the National Meet, get yourself some and save 15% by using code GLORYDAYS at checkout. Go to goodr.com and use code GLORYDAYS for 15% off.

goodr sunglasses are $25, non-slip sunglasses that are stylish and make you run goodr. They provide 100% UV Protection and are 100% Polarized. Not only that they are a 100% carbon neutral company and give back 1% to the Planet. They’re our favorite running sunglasses so go get yourself a pair!


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