Clinton Dick/Collegian photographer. Sam McDaniel, nursing freshman, sprints down the last leg of the race against Jazz Carreon, Southwestern alumni, in the NAIA Midstates Classic Saturday in Winfield. Carreon beat out McDaniel by 0.24 seconds, but the men’s cross country team took fourth place out of 20 teams present. Carreon and McDaniel finished 43rd and 44th respectively.

By Lea Shores
Staff reporter

The men and women’s cross-country teams have seen a lot of individual success this season, but the next few days are crucial as the teams prepare for conference. Jennifer Hendrixson, business junior, said, “We’ve improved so much from last year and I think we’ll surprise a few people at conference.”

The women’s team placed fifth last Saturday at the home meet. “The home meet went very well. We place fifth as a team which was an improvement from last year,” said Jordan Unruh, nursing senior. “We had a good turnout with competition and for the conditions of the day, I feel as though the team ran well.”

Amy Pierson took first overall for the women finishing in 18:39.35. Following Pierson were Unruh in 22nd with a time of 19:54.40, Hendrixson in 31st (20:05.74), Larrissa Vasquez in 49th (20:36.21), Sydnee Nelson in 56th (20:49.95), Mallorie Coffman in 58th (20:55.99), Jacey Cullop in 103rd (22:13.73) and Erica Dunigan in 150th (24:47.40).

“Our team as a whole is doing really great this season,” said Unruh. “We aren’t quite as strong as we need to be once we get past our top set of runners, but everyone is working hard and we will be ready to run at conference.”

“We’ve been improving and closing the gaps between all us girls each meet,” said Hendrixson.

The men’s team is also working to close the gaps between runners before fighting for their 31st consecutive conference championship. “Our main goal is for everyone to run as close together as possible. We have been doing a pretty good job of executing this plan,” said Conner Drendel, elementary education junior. “The only challenge really is getting everyone ready to run when it counts the most.”

The men came in fourth on Saturday, though they had hoped to place higher. “Our goal was to finish in the top three and bring home a team plaque. We barely missed out by six points, so that was a little disheartening for us,” said Drendel.

Drendel finished first for the Builders and 13th overall at 26:15.19. Following were Andrew Topham in 14th (26:16.21), Frank Adelman in 25th (26:46.47), Carrington Crum in 30th (26:57.68), Colton McNinch in 33rd (27:05.17), Sam McDaniel in 44th (27:29.82), Eric Anders in 71st (28:24.75), Trey Bruton in 78th (28:37.16), Chris Donald in 133rd (30:17.47), Daniel Van Sickle in 143rd (30:51.77), Darnell Pittman in 148th (31:08.89) and Harrison Newman in 151st (31:18.17). “We are on the verge of having a great post-season if we continue working hard and doing things the right way,” said Drendel.

The next meet for the Builders is the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships Nov. 6 at Kansas Wesleyan in Salina.

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

Women
1. Amy Pierson 18:39.35
22. Jordan Unruh 19:54.40
31. Jennifer Hendrixson 20:05.74
49. Larrissa Vasquez 20:36.21
56. Sydnee Nelson 20:49.95
58. Mallorie Coffman 20:55.99
103. Jacey Cullop 22:13.73
150. Erica Dunigan 24:47.40

Team results
5 Southwestern Total Time: 1:40:05.65
Average: 20:01.13

Men
13. Conner Drendel 26:15.19
14. Andrew Topham 26:16.21
25. Frank Adelman 26:46.47
30. Carrington Crum 26:57.68
33. Colton McNinch 27:05.17
44. Sam McDaniel 27:29.82
71. Eric Anders 28:24.75
78. Trey Bruton 28:37.16
133. Chris Donald 30:17.47
143. Daniel Van Sickle 30:51.77
148. Darnell Pittman 31:08.89
151. Harrison Newman 31:18.17
Team results
4 Southwestern
Total Time: 2:13:20.72
Average: 26:40.15