By Katie Gomez
Staff reporter

Multiple illnesses got the better of them as Cross Country competed in their final invitational of the season. The men and women hosted the NAIA Mid-States Classic Oct. 24 alongside 27 teams from six different states.

he women finished ninth out of 22 teams with a total time of 1:40:59:23. Amy Pierson, nursing junior, came in second place at 18:27:50. Jennifer Hendrixson, nursing sophomore, finished 46th with a time of 20:14:23 and Sydnee Nelson, biology freshman, finished 48th at 20:19:96.

The men finished tenth out of 22 teams with a time of 2:14:38:53. Andrew Topham, biology junior, took sixth place out of 215 runners at 25:43:58. Frank Adelman, biology freshman, finished 43rd with a time of 26:49:58 and Clint Kessler, undecided freshman, took 52nd at 27:09:85.

The men and women fought hard as multiple cases of the flu and even a case of H1N1 affected several members of the team, who ran, despite their illness. Jim Helmer, head coach, was pleased with the way the teams performed considering their circumstances.

“I thought our women ran really well. There were quality teams there and overall, our performance was really good,” said Helmer. “I think our guys were ready to be fourth of fifth and then four of our top five guys had had the flu throughout the week. They all raced but I’m not sure they all should have.”

Helmer was disappointed for his team because they couldn’t perform like they were ready to. “We’ve had great workouts, but with that many down with the flu, it was just not what we hoped for. Those things just happen and we’re not the only ones struggling with sick players. It’s a hard time right now,” said Helmer.

Helmer believes his teams have had a great season and can prevail if they just overcome their challenges and get healthy.

“Quantity wise, our numbers are down. We’ve just had a low recruiting class. Quality wise, we have as many great runners as we normally do,” said Helmer. “If we get healthy and race like I know we’re ready to, we could be the best team we’ve had in awhile.”

Both teams have been preparing for the KCAC Championships at Lake Afton in hopes to qualify for the NAIA National Championships, which takes place in Vancouver, Wash. on Nov. 21.

Katie Gomez is a junior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at