By Lea Shores
Staff reporter

Both the women and men’s cross country teams have been off to a strong start this season. The outlook for both teams is positive as runners prepare for the challenging course at the Oklahoma State University Cowboy Jamboree on Sept. 25.

Amy Pierson, nursing senior, has been leading the women’s team and took first at the Friends Invitational Sept. 11.

“As a team, we’re a lot stronger this year than we were last year,” said Pierson.

The strength of the team came through on Sept. 18 as the women held their own at the Missouri Southern Stampede, finishing fifteenth out of thirty-six teams.

Pierson finished seventh out of 302 runners with a time of 17:36.85. Jennifer Hendrixson, business junior, came next for Southwestern in seventy-fourth at 19:22.10.

The men’s team is also having a successful season despite having more inexperienced runners. “We have five freshmen,” said Andrew Topham, bio-chemistry senior. “They are proving that they can compete and contribute.”

Topham, Colton McNinch, bio-chemistry freshman, and Conner Drendel, elementary education junior, have been the top three runners for the men’s team so far this season. In Missouri, Topham placed thirty-ninth at 25:38.90, Drendel came in 47th at 26:04.20 and McNinch followed right behind at 26:04.90.

The men’s team placed 11th out of 34 teams.

“Our team has had to battle some injuries early on with a few of our top runners,” said McNinch. “Things are starting to turn in a positive direction now and hopefully we will begin really competing well in our upcoming meets.”

The course at OSU this weekend will both mentally and physically challenge the Builders. “There are a lot of steep hills,” said Topham. “It’s a big meet, there’s going to be plenty of competition.”

The outlook for both teams is positive. “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” said Pierson.
“Like Coach says, keep doing things right.”

Lea Shores is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail her at lea.shores@sckans.edu.