By Angel Vadillo
Sports editor

Conner Drendel, Master of Education, is a returning cross country runner. He is finishing his last running year with the Builder cross country team.

“It is great for the team, the runner, the athletes, because they get to learn from the experience, leadership, maturity,” said head men’s cross country coach, Jim Helmer. “He is going to help us become a better team because he is an All-American.”

Drendel is currently full time teacher teaching sixth grade at Winfield Intermediate School. He is also finishing his masters in special education.

He is running his last eligible year by the National American Intercollegiate Association with the Builders. “The main thing we look up to this year is to win conference and being top 10 in the nation as a team,” said Drendel. Helmer said, “The presence he has makes the younger look up to the old ones.”

Drendel did not run last year. He says, “It feels very good after a year off. It was good to reflect and refocus on my winning goals, that way I can push myself to the full.”

The cross country team and Conner will have their first meet at the Wichita State University Gold Classic on Sept. 1.

Drendel said the team was very strong and they are working very hard to reach their goals. They want to show everyone they just don’t talk but do work. He says the team this year has more urgency to win. They really want it too much.

Helmer said, “Conner is an outstanding person and a talented person.”

Conner has run with the team for three seasons, 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11. He is now returning to finish his last year here. “Probably the most important thing for him is to finish what he started. He graduated in three years, but he’ll be more fulfilled in knowing he finished his eligibility.”

Angel Vadillo is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at