NORTH NEWTON—The McPherson College cross country teams were back in action this past weekend at the Muthama-Rogers Invitational hosted by the Bethel College Threshers. Originally, the Bulldog coaching staff had planned to take this weekend off, but there was some uncertainty surrounding next week's race hosted Tabor College and they didn't want to have a month between races if in fact next week's race was cancelled for some reason.
Senior Aryana Archuleta, led the Women's program with a sixth-place finish (20:13). Aryana's performance nearly matched her 2018 KCAC Championships performance on the same course. On the men's side, Sophomore Jadin Fleming led the Bulldogs with a 15th place finish (28:34). His performance was nearly 25 seconds faster than his performance on the same course one year ago.
Overall the Women's program had four women in the top 25 with newcomers Georgia Hitchcock and Savannah Moore finishing near the top 20 and Senior LeaAnn Myers packing (Redline) the Bulldogs up and moving them up in the field. The Men's team was spread out over the previous two meets with Senior Cole Hinton finishing one place behind Fleming in 16th place out of a field of 59 runners.
The women's Total Team Time (taken by adding the finishing times of the top five runners for each team) improved by 55 seconds versus one year ago on the same course, due in large part by having four women run under 23 minutes versus only three were able to do this one year ago.
The main concern right now is even with moderate training we have some health issues that we need to work through and we have one or two women that are very capable of running with our top four runners that aren't close to doing so right now. This is negating the efforts of our top four runners and increasing our team score drastically.
The Bulldog men were without Jr. Kevin Boeckman this weekend, who has had good races both times out this season. Despite not having one of their top runners, the men significantly increase their 1-5 time gap and Total Team Time versus previous weeks. The theme is the same for the Men's program. With a significant time gap between the 4th and 5th runner the Men's team score is increasing drastically.
The Cottonwood Classic at Tabor, scheduled for this upcoming Saturday looks to be a go at this point. With some of the nagging injuries both programs are currently dealing with, and with last weekend's race, Coach Clay is not sure if he will run a full squad this weekend or not. Regardless of how many run, the women's 5k race is set for 10 a.m. while the men are set to go off at 10:45 a.m. The races are scheduled to be run at Harvey County East Park, just east of Newton.