By Angel Vadillo and Garrett Chapman
Staff reporters

The cross country team has never had a problem finding a way to win. They are ranked No. 1 spot in the conference pre-season coach’s poll.

The team took the conference championship in 2012. In 2011, Friends won the conference title, but Southwestern won 31 straight championships.

“Being ranked No. 1 is a nice honor and tribute to the team and school. It’s too early to pay attention to what the polls say. You never know what the other schools are doing to prepare. It does feel good to be recognized like this,” said Jim Helmer, head cross country coach.

Not only does the pre-season poll have Southwestern at the top, the runners think this could be their year also.

Colton McNinch, senior majoring in biochemistry and biology, said, “I believe we have the potential to have a highly successful year. We have experience, talent, and a close-knit group of guys.”

The team has nine returning runners. Two incoming freshmen and a junior transfer. Helmer said, “Colton, a National All-American will set the pace for us this year. I’m feeling good about our new runners. They will give depth to the team.”

Trey Bruton, senior majoring in mathematics said, “As a returning runner, I want to be a leader and improve my 8K time to around the 25 minute mark.”

The Builders will put themselves to the test at their first meet on Aug. 31 at the Baker Maple Leaf Invitational in Baldwin City.

Garrett Chapman is a freshman majoring in communication. You may email him at

Angel Vadillo is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at