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The stiff wind matched the stiff competition here Saturday as the Southwestern Community College Spartan men finished fourth at the Region XI meet.
The squad was led by freshman Ben Friederichs. He covered the 8K cross country course in 28:15, finishing 25th overall, earning a spot on the all-region honorable mention team.
"Ben really put together a complete race and earned an all-region spot," head coach Bill Huntington said. "It was a great opportunity for the guys to preview the national championship course and race against some of the best junior college teams in the nation."
Teammate Gage Beers finished in 28:20 and 29th place.
Ovan Garcia, Joe Bierl and Rayvonne Brown rounded out the scoring for the Spartan men, finishing with 121 points.
Iowa Central Community College won the meet with 16 points and is currently ranked fifth in the latest national poll. No. 19 North Iowa Area Community College upset No. 15 Iowa Western Community College for second and third in the team standings.
"I was proud of how our guys competed, but we are going to do everything we can over the next two weeks to prove we deserve a spot in the polls with teams like Iowa Central, NIACC and Iowa Western," Huntington said.
Conditions were less than ideal when the Southwestern Community College Spartans reached the University of Arkansas agricultural site here Saturday morning for the Chile Pepper Festival cross country race.
After arriving at the race site, lightning pushed back the start of the race more than 90 minutes and a constant downpour created a flash flood on parts of the course.
"The conditions were less than ideal for personal best times, but everybody had to run in it," head coach Bill Huntington said. "Our guys and ladies had a great attitude and used the poor conditions to their advantage against some tough Division I competition."
When the Spartan men finally were able to toe the line, just to their left was Baylor University and the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University were to their right.
The Southwestern Community College men's cross country team jumped back into the top 25 poll after its performance at the Viking Invitational on Sept. 20.
The Spartans trailed North Iowa Area Community College by a mere three points in the team standings. NIACC was ranked No. 16 at the time of the race.
Freshman Aaron Ward continued to pace the Spartans, finishing the 8K course in 28:51. He placed 37th overall.
Former Clarke Indian standouts Gage Beers and Chasen Selsor crossed the line in 29:13 and 29:19 respectfully.
Ben Friederichs and Rayvonne Brown rounded out the scoring for the Spartans. The team's spread was only 44 seconds for the top five.
"I was really impressed by how we worked to pass people after the 6,000-meter mark," head coach Bill Huntington said. "It was probably the tightest pack we have ever had."
An unseasonably hot Saturday morning did not stop the Southwestern Community College men from a solid performance at the Central Dutch Invitational.
Aaron Ward led the No. 19 ranked Spartans with a 25th place finished on the 8k course, crossing the line in 29:30.
Sophomore Rayvonne Brown led the pack of Cassidy Warson, Gage Beers and Ovan Garcia to round out the top five, scoring 27th, 32nd, 35th and 36th respectively.
The men placed fifth overall, ahead of Grand View and Indian Hills Community College.
In her first collegiate 6K, Hannah Murphy crossed the line in 29:07, finishing 41st overall.
Teammates Sarah McKeon and Kristin Klocksiem followed in 55th and 58th respectively.
As a team, the Spartan women are ranked 24th in the nation. It is only the second time in program history the men and women have been ranked in the top 25 at the same time.
Former Spartan Kalli McCann placed 21st overall. She is currently running for Grand View.