Cross country finishes in middle of the pack at Chili Pepper Invite

by Brock Borgeson

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Simpson cross country had the opportunity to run in one of the most biggest meets in that nation Saturday as their shoes took to the course at the Chili Pepper Invitational.

The invitational was divided up into two groups, the “university” and “college” group.

The “university” field included Division I teams such as the University of Arkansas, UTEP, Lamar, South Alabama, Drake, Stephen F. Austin, Wichita State, and North Texas among others.

Simpson ran in the “colleges” group, featuring primarily community colleges, although a few Division III schools such as Lindenwood, Trinity, and Baker College made appearances.

Both the men’s and women’s teams left Fayetteville finishing the in the middle of the pack, as the men finished a respectable 17th/27 and the women placed 15th out of field of 25.

Simpson’s Blake Willadsen finished the highest for the men, placing 214th out of 419, with a time of 26:59.9. Junior Nick Yaeger was close behind at 232nd, and sophomore Ethan Pelligrino rounded out Simpson’s top three at 267th at 27:31.2.

Andrew Mayes (294th), Ian McKenzie (307th), Miles Kirts (351st), and Henry Oberman (357th) completed the group of seven for Simpson.

The women brought six runners Saturday, with freshman Sadie Timms leading the way, continuing her great rookie season, placing 137th out of 375 runners with a time of 18:43.9 on the 5k course. The rest of the top three was made up of sophomore Briana McCloskey (205th), and junior Breanna Gaster (249th).

Freshman Courtney Neuendorf was close behind Gaster at 261st with a time of 19:51.6, while sophomore Jessica Gronke finished in 324th, and senior Lauren Doocy placed 334th.

Both men’s and women’s cross-country will head to Dubuque on Oct. 17 for the Dr. Tucker Invitational. This will be their final regular season tune-up before the IIAC Championships Nov. 1 in Indianola