The Southwestern men's and women's cross country teams competed Friday, Oct. 26, at the ICCAC/Region XI Championships at Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf. It was a perfect day for a cross country championship meet with cool temperatures and sunshine for both races. The Spartans came away with three all-conference performances - two on the men's side and one on the women's.
Southwestern's women ran first and ran one of their fastest team times of the season despite having to run about 250 meters extra because of a wrong turn by the lead officials. They came away with one all-conference performer in sophomore Heather Jessen. She finished 14th overall to improve two spots from her performance a year ago and moved to No. 4 on the Spartans all-time list. As a team, the ladies came in fifth place overall.
The men ran their fastest team time of the season (27:37), which is the second fastest team time run by a Spartan squad over the past four seasons. The Spartan men were led by all-conference performances from Cedrick Watson and Shane Breheny in 10th (26:36) and 25th (27:27), respectively. Watson's performance moved him to No. 4 all-time as an individual and is the ninth fastest time run in program history.
"Again, almost every one of our athletes had at least a season best if not an all-time best. It really speaks to their work ethic and drive to get better all the way until the end of the season," mentioned Head Cross Country and Track and Field Coach Trey Bruton.
It was a historic day for freshman athlete Cedrick Watson. "He (Watson) has come a long way this season and is running really great right now. I knew it was just a matter of time before he would break 27 minutes, but to do it like that on a tough course was really impressive," said Bruton.
Coach Bruton summarized by saying, "All in all it was a great day to be a Spartan. We proved that we have what it takes to compete with some of the nation's best. While we obviously would have liked to finish higher in the team standings, when you have a conference where everyone has the potential to be ranked in the top 25, running as fast as we did and finishing where we did is still a big accomplishment."
Results women: http://www.accuracetiming.com/results/regionxicc_2018w.pdf
Both the Spartan men and women are back in action Saturday, Nov. 10, at the NJCAA Cross Country Championships in Garden City, Kansas.