Southwestern's men's and women's cross country teams kicked off their seasons on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Region XI Time Trials at Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf. It was a steamy 90-plus degrees at race time. Both the Spartan men and women fought through the conditions to get their seasons started off on a solid note.
Spartan Head Coach Trey Bruton said Southwestern's men came into the day with high expectations for themselves going into the season.
"After two weeks of pretty intense training, our guys were hungry to get back on the course," mentioned Bruton.
The men's race was highlighted by a strong third-place performance by standout freshman Cedrick Watson of Kenner, Louisiana.
"Cedrick has the drive to be successful at the collegiate level, and he put in some miles this summer, so it was nice to see him get off to a start like that," said Bruton.
Heather Jessen, sophomore of Baxter, led the way for the Spartan women in 23rd place.
"Our ladies have a full team to start the year off this year and Heather is an outstanding leader for the team," said Bruton. "While she didn't have the race she wanted and what I know she can have, I was still encouraged to see her out there leading our ladies."
Bruton summarized by saying, "It was a tough day for us out there, but I knew it was going to be like that going into the day. We are coming off back-to-back high-mileage weeks with our kids and even if we hadn't had that brutal heat, our kids would have still struggled. We are all more worried about where we are at the end of the year than where we are right now."
Bruton said his team is still learning who they are and building a strong base.
"We will be ready when it counts," Bruton exclaimed.
Both the Spartan men and women are back in action at the Bill Buxton Invitational at Simpson College on Friday, Aug. 31, in Indianola.