OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Butler women are back-to-back Region VI cross country champions after winning a closely-contested race on Saturday on the Johnson County Community College campus.
Butler, ranked ninth nationally, had 58 points to win the meet, holding off runner-up Barton with 69 points and Allen County, which was in third with 75 points. Barton is ranked 11th and Allen County seventh in the most recent national poll.
Along with winning the regional title, the Grizzlies were also crowned champions of the Jayhawk West Conference for a third straight year. It is Butler's 15th conference championship in the past 16 years. Butler accounted for 38 points in the conference standings, while Barton was second with 46 and Dodge City was third, followed by Pratt, Garden City, Hutchinson, Cloud County and Colby.
Butler's top two runners finished together as Sheila Samoei was fifth in 19:48 and Janie Salinas was sixth in 19:50. Ariente' Sims was just behind, finishing seventh in 20:03. All three runners earn first-team All-Jayhawk West Conference honors.
Kayla Davis was Butler's next finisher, coming in 14th in 20:36 to be named a second-team All-Jayhawk West performer. Veronica Sowder was Butler's fifth finisher, rounding out the team score as she placed 27th individually in 21:16.
Butler head coach Ryan Turner was named the Women's Region VI Coach of the Year following the meet.
Butler will now prepare for the NJCAA National Championships, which will be held on Nov. 14 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.