The Southwestern men's and women's cross country teams defended their home course Friday at the Spartan Classic.
It marked the first time in nearly 10 years the Spartans hosted a home meet on campus in Creston.
"Friday was a great atmosphere for our student-athletes, with all the support they received from fellow athletic teams on campus and fans from the community," said Scott Vicker, director of cross country/track and field for Southwestern. "This was a great opportunity for our student-athletes to show their families and friends, as well as the community, how hard they've been working in practices. The meet went well and is something we hope to continue for years to come."
The Southwestern men, ranked 20th in the latest USTFCCCA NJCAA poll released last week, finished fourth in a field that included four nationally ranked teams. The Spartans scored 86 points, just one point behind 10th-ranked Highland Community College. NIACC, ranked third in Division II, claimed the team title over Divion I 15th-ranked Indian Hills.
Freshman Josh Baudler of Fontanelle led the Spartan men with his fifth-place finish in 29:15.36 over the challenging 8K course that covered parts of Southwestern's campus, as well as Crestmoor Golf Club. Connor Koppa of Red Oak finished 17th in 31:29.15. Nicholas Mather of Shenandoah ran 24th in 32:33.08 and Levi Detrick of Shenandoah finished 28th in 33:13.99. Ahmed Fofana rounded out the team scoring for the Spartans, crossing the finish line in a time of 34:36.33 for 35th place. Leland Perkins ran 41:52.34 for 41st.
"I know the times are not what our guys hoped for Friday, with the heat and wind combined with the challenging course, but I was happy with how our men ran. This was by far the most challenging course any of these teams will see all season," Vicker said. "Compared to NIACC, Indian Hills, and DMACC, our guys moved up from how they finished compared to those athletes at the Grand View meet two weeks ago. We are making progress in the right direction. It will be nice for our guys to get onto faster courses to finish the year, so they can truly see where they are with their fitness."
For the Spartan women, sophomore Mazzy Hummel ran 26:23.08 over the 5K course to finish 15th.
Southwestern's cross country teams return to action Friday, Oct. 9, at the Trent Smith Invitational, hosted by NIACC, before traveling to Indian Hills on Friday, Oct. 16.