AUGUSTA, Kan. — Butler cross country had a solid day on the course Saturday morning as both teams finished sixth overall at the J.K. Gold Classic, hosted by Wichita State University at the 4 Mile Creek Resort (formerly known as the RAFT Course).
With a field made up of top local colleges at both the four-year and two-year levels, the Grizzly men managed to post the top junior college finish out of four teams with 200 points, while the women scored 203 points and finished right behind Cowley among juco teams.
"They competed really hard today", commented Butler head cross country coach Dustin Mettler, "I was running around the whole course for both races and everybody looked like they were improving and that's all I can ask for."
Freshman Juan Tovar led the charge for the Grizzly men as he finished 35th out of a 156-runner field, running the 6K course in a time of 20:40.4. Keeping pace behind Tovar were teammates Timothy Kimeli (45th, 20:54.1), Tarik Xavier (51st, 21:05.4) and Anton Reeves (59th, 21:18.7).
"The guys actually showed a lot more heart and grit than they did last week," said Mettler.
In the 15-team women's field, the Grizzlies finished just one spot behind fifth-place Cowley, who scored 132 points to Butler's 203.
Pacing the Butler women was Michelle Sanchez, who finished 27th overall and crossed the finish line of the 4K race at 15:50.6. Zadie St. Louis trailed Sanchez by nearly 20 seconds, as she placed 41st (16:11.3). Other Grizzly finishers were Stephany Lechuga (64th, 16:53.9), Shanique Masters (71st, 17:10.9) and Hilda Kipruto (82nd, 17:32.0).
"We had our groups but we need to continue to work on getting that pack closer together and closing that gap," mentioned Mettler about the Grizzly women.
The teams will get the a week off from competition and return to action on Saturday, Sept. 21 for the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo., but Mettler has plans on improving the squad as much as possible before the next meet.
"We are going to hit the ground running hard this next week and see how much we can improve to get ready for Missouri Southern in a couple weeks."