Lions cross country continues building on success

Men’s team

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams started their road to repeating last weekend at the Southwest Baptist University Invite in Bolivar MO.

Men’s head coach Bryan Schiding sent out nine runners to open the season. All nine runners would help the Lions take home a third place finish. Leading the way for the Lions was junior runner Tyler Rush, who won the event with a time of 20:41.35 on the 6400m course. Nathan Henry was placed ninth, while Blake Barth finished 15th and Jacob Coffman was 22nd. Jared Haltom was 37th, Ryan Drendel placed 41st, Luke Johnson was 49th, and Zach Caruthers placed 62nd.

Four Lions placed in the top 25, including freshman Blake Barth.

“Blake Barth had a very good race,” said Schiding. “Overall we did well. We didn’t do great but it was a good start for us.”

“Tyler needs to continue to work hard and they [Rush and Henry] need to stay healthy. And if they stay healthy and continue with the training, they’ll be successful,” said Schiding.

SBU won the event as Central Missouri took home second place. SBU and Central Missouri who were chosen to finish below the Lions in the 2015 preseason poll.


Women’s team

For the ladies, taking home first place was within reaching distance. Ultimately, they would settle for second place. Both SBU and the Lions tied in points but SBU won the event on tiebreakers that included highest finishers.

The top finishers for the Lions were Emily Harris, who placed fourth, and Sierra Gray, who placed fifth, as they completed the 5k course in times of 19:21.92 and 19:25.52 respectively. Transfer Cynthia Torres placed seventh, followed by Sarah Usher at 8th and Kindra Emberton finished in ninth. Alessandra Moss placed 13th, while Sara Lin rounded out the top 25 finishing in 25th. Shelby Werner placed 33rd and Cora Butcher-Spellman was 46th.

“They’re [SBU] one of the teams in the conference to beat and I felt really good that we stacked up with them early in the season and on their home course,” said head coach Patty Vavra.

“Gray had a great race. She’s one of those people as a junior that will have to step up and have a great race every week,” said Vavra.

“Sarah Usher, she ran very well. She’s probably exceeded our expectations coming from high school.”

Both the men’s and women’s team will be off for one week before coming home to play host to the Southern Stampede on September 19.