Staying on top has been a huge key for the Southwestern Cross Country team not only for the past few years, but the past few decades. With half of the season over, the team looks to finish strong and do everything they can to keep the conference title in their grasp. “I am pleased with everyone’s progress so far,” said head coach Jim Helmer. “We have been very competitive and are looking to run our best at the end of the season when it matters most.”

Builder Cross Country traveled to Shawnee, Okla. for the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison Invitational on Sept. 10. Despite it being a non-conference meet, the Builders still strived to perform at the top of their level.

The men’s team took second place out of six teams. “I felt like we made a huge improvement,” said Carrington Crum, elementary education sophomore. “We took a pretty big step even though there are still some pieces we need to put together.” Andrew Topham, biology junior, continued his success as the Builder’s number one runner as he finished with a time of 25:52.00, which was good enough to earn him second place in the race out of 64 runners.

Following closely was Frank Adelman, biology freshman, who finished in eighth place with a time of 26:20.00. Other runners also helped the Builders clinch second. Crum finished twelfth with a time of 26:33.00 and Zach Conroy, business senior, had a time of 27:08.00, which was good enough to lock up the number nineteen spot.

Out of the eight teams competing in the women’s race, the Builders took fourth. “I think we did well as a team,” said Amy Pierson, nursing junior. “We are all working hard and running with a lot of determination to win conference. Conference is going to be a challenge this year, but we have a hard-working group of girls and we will give it our best shot. ” The highlight of the meet for Southwestern was Pierson’s performance.  She ran extremely well and won first place out of 65 competitors with a time of 18:36.00. Behind her came a surge of Southwestern competitors. Jennifer Hendrixon, nursing sophomore, took seventeenth as she finished with a time of 20:34.00 and Sydnee Nelson, Biology freshman, followed closely with a time of 20:43.00 as she finished twentieth. “Overall, I think we had a good meet,” said Helmer. “It was slow and muddy conditions, and the footing was really bad. That really slowed some of the times down, but I was pleased with our performance and effort.”

The Cross Country team was scheduled to compete at the Butler Invitational at Butler Community College this upcoming weekend, but has opted to stay home and prepare for their home meet which takes place Oct. 24. The Southwestern College NAIA Mid-States Classic is not only the Builder’s hosted meet, but is also the last meet before the KCAC conference championships at Lake Afton, which takes place Nov. 7.

Clint Dick is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at clinton.dick@sckans.edu.