By Clinton Dick
Saturday 209 runners and 21 teams competed at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Mid-States Classic in Winfield. The meet, hosted by Southwestern, began with the women’s race followed by a strong performance from the men’s team.
The men, in pursuit of their 32nd consecutive conference championship, finished second in the meet only to Oklahoma Baptist.
“We are just getting better all the time,” said Jim Helmer, head cross country coach. “We knew that it was going to be a process because we are so young, but we are getting closer to being what we are capable of.”
According to Helmer, the men’s team recorded the fastest time on the course since 1988.
For the second consecutive week, Frank Adelman, biology junior, was the No. 1 runner for the Builders. He finished fourth overall with a time of 24:39.69.
Colton McNinch, biology sophomore, wasn’t far behind, finishing eighth. His time was 25:07.70.
“It has been back and forth between those two and I think that is great,” said Helmer. “They are pushing each other and helping each other. They are right there together.”
Carrington Crum, elementary education senior, was the third runner for Southwestern, finishing 24th with a time of 25:59.21.
The next pack of Builders finished within eight seconds of each other. Sam McDaniel, business management sophomore, Trey Bruton, mathematics sophomore, and Eric Anders, biology sophomore, placed 36th, 40th and 41st respectively. McDaniel’s time was 26:42.73. Bruton finished with a time of 26:49.38, and Anders followed closely with a time of 26:49.78.
With the conference meet coming up in two weeks, Helmer said the team took a step forward towards their goal of winning the championship. Their biggest competitor in the national rankings so far this season has been the Friends University Falcons.
“Our plan all along has been to do what we can to win a conference championship,” said Helmer. “On paper, Friends is more experienced, but we always believe we have a chance. Yesterday, we took one more step towards that. We are going to go give Friends a battle.”
On the women’s side, Jennifer Hendrixson, business marketing senior, continued her impressive season, placing 24th with a time of 19:28.44.
“That was her best performance ever,” said Helmer. “She has taken the leadership role seriously and has stepped up her performance in the past years. She is having a great season.”
Bri Cathcart, biology freshman, moved back up into the No. 2 runner position on the team with a time of 19:54.26, which was good enough to earn her the 45th spot.
The next three women’s runners finished within 15 seconds of each other. Sydnee Nelson, biochemistry junior, placed 73rd with a time of 20:45.79. Mallorie Coffman, athletic training sophomore, and Jacey Cullop, biology senior, took the 80th and 81st spots in the race respectively. Coffman’s time was 20:58.18 and Cullop’s was 20:59.84.
“(The women) are a really good team. We are as good as the teams we have won conference championships with,” said Helmer. “We are going to do everything we can to win a conference championship.”
The women placed 11th as a team out of 20 teams competing.
Both teams have a week off before the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships Nov. 5 in McPherson.
Clinton Dick is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.