GRINNELL - The Southwestern men's cross country team finished ninth in a deep 16-team field Saturday at Grinnell College's Les Duke Invitational.
The meet was a late addition to the Spartans' schedule after Grand View's meet, scheduled for Friday, was canceled because of wet course conditions.
Southwestern scored 278 team points to finish ninth, 27 points behind Webster University for eighth and 18 points ahead of 10th-place Clarke University.
"I was pleased with the way we competed. We ran smart as a team and did what we needed to do," Southwestern Head Cross Country Coach Trey Bruton said. "While we were a bit shorthanded on both the men's and women's side, we still showed a lot of potential. Across the board for every team and every athlete, the times weren't very impressive as the challenging course and humidity really slowed the race down."
Cedrick Watson paced the Spartans with his 43rd place finish in 29:06. Colin Shreve was 60th in 29:54. Joshua Carstens finished 78th in 30:23, followed by Austin Lundy (89th) in 30:46 and Skyler Rawlings (100th) in 31:24 to round out the team scoring for the Spartans.
Alex Vandor ran 32:50 and Roland Hure completed the course in 41:07. It marked the first 8K race of the season for the Spartan men.
"A big positive is compared to teams of the past, we are right there with some of the best in school history, so we have a great chance to accomplish our goals and be a contender when it matters," Bruton said.
Southwestern does not compete this weekend, but hosts the Creston Balloon Chase 5K in McKinley Park. Registrations are still being accepted at www.swcciowa.edu/balloonchase and participants can also register at the race site on the morning of the race.
The Spartans return to action Saturday, Sept. 28, at the first annual Southwestern Spartans Cross Country Classic held in East Lake Park in Osceola. Competition begins at 10 a.m.