INDIANOLA - Southwestern's men's cross country team finished seventh out of nine teams Friday afternoon at the Bill Buxton Invitational hosted by Simpson College in Pickard Park.
Southwestern was the lone community college program to compete in the meet, which also marked the first 6K of the season for the Spartans. The Spartans finished with 159 points, 20 points back of Graceland for sixth place. Host Simpson College won the meet with 26 points ahead of runner-up Grand View's 90 points.
"I felt like it was a turning point for us this season," Head Coach Trey Bruton said. "The team is sore and not in competitive shape yet, but we ran hard and worked better as a team. We looked good and it gives us some positive momentum to build on after a couple of tough weeks of training to start the season off."
Sophomore Cedrick Watson of Kenner, Louisiana, paced the Spartans, covering the 6K course in 21:23.6 for 31st place. Sophomore Colin Shreve finished 36th in 21:31.4, improving his time from the same course last year by 13 seconds. Alex Vandor finished 39th in 21:39.1 and Josh Carstens placed 43rd in 22:06. Skyler Rawlings rounded out the team scoring for the Spartans by finishing 52nd in 22:42.0.
Austin Lundy, a sophomore from Fontanelle, improved his time from last year by 1:38, running 22:51.2 for 55th place.
"The men's team showed the potential they have to compete for a top 25 spot at the national level," Bruton said.
The Spartan men take a week off from competition to focus on training before returning to action Friday, Sept. 13, at the Viking Cross Country Invitational, hosted by Grand View University.