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Barton women second to open season; Mato fourth
Mato places fourth at Augusta.

It has been a record breaking career for Lydia Mato. This past weekend she started the final chapter of her time at Barton Community College.

The sensation from Ghana has already ran both seasons of indoor and outdoor track as well as one cross country. The 2015 cross country season will be her last as a Cougar.

Mato finished fourth in the 67th JK Gold Classic in Augusta. The defending NJCAA Champion found herself with a group of Wichita State runners at the front of the pack.

As a team Barton was second in the small college and NJCAA division. Friends University won the division with 66 points followed by Barton with 81. Newman University was a close third at 84 with Butler a distant fourth at 105.

“Lydia was a little sore from the past week of training,” coach Parker Cowles said. “But the women’s squad as a whole looked great.

“Asha (Douglas) is going to be a big impact freshman and Holly (Pierce) looks better than ever.”

Mato ran a 14:39.6 over the 4k course for fourth. Rebekah Topham of Wichita State won in 14:13.9. Mato was the only non-WSU runner in the top seven.

Douglas was the second Cougar to finish as the freshman from Florida ran a 15.50.5 for 18th overall and fourth in her division.

Pierce finished 32nd overall and 13th in her division in 16:29.1.

Mariah Stein and Kaitlynn Tuey, both from Great Bend High School, rounded out the teams scoring. Stein, a freshman, was 52nd overall and 28th in the division in 17:22.8. Tuey, a sophomore, ran 17:43.7 finishing in 61st and 35th.

LeAndra Russell ran 19:03.1, Julee McAtee ran 19:23.1, and Emilykate Hopson-Boyd ran 19:30.1 to round out the Barton runners.

Barton is back on the course Saturday when the Cougars head to Hutchinson for the Romp at Ridge.