In a nationally ranked packed field, the Barton Community College men's cross country team placed third Saturday at the Region VI Championships held on the campus of Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. Featuring six teams in the nation's top twenty-five, the No. 12 ranked Cougars finished the 8k rolling hills course behind Region Champion and No. 6 ranked Allen County Community College and No. 8 ranked Butler Community College.
Finishing sixth in the region last season, Barton's improvement was the highest finish matching the 2003 squad's placing who would go on to a fifth place finish to the season in the national championship. The Cougars also placed second in the West division of the Jayhawk Conference to Butler which brushes off the Barton history books to match the 2001 squad.
Sampson Laari continues to etch his name in Barton history as the sophomore from Ghana won the individual championship becoming the first to do so since Jake Raines' accomplishment in 2004. Laari's 5:08 per mile pace for a 25:33.9 time earned the title by three seconds ahead of Ellinwood native Pedro Montoya leading Allen County's championship team.
Continuing to have a tremendous sophomore season, Elder Colindres was the second Cougar to cross the line averaging 5:30 per mile to place 17th in 27:21.3.
Three sophomores were next led by Marcus Pastran's 28:45.0 time which improved his final placing by thirty spots from his first year finishing in 36th place. Devyn Brotherton, who earned All-Region honors last season, battled through minimal training due to armed forces commitments and recent sickness to finish 48th in a time of 29:35.3. Tyler Thornton jumped thirty-one spots from last season to come in four behind Brotherton crossing in 29:42.8.
Three freshman competed but were not figured in the team score. Treavon Ware's 31:13.5 led the trio placing 89th followed by Anthony Forrest's 94th place at 31:39.3 with Robert Portice finishing 96th in a time of 32:02.9.
Barton will have two weeks to prepare before the NJCAA Division I Championship to be held Saturday, November 14, in Ford Dodge, Iowa.