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Laari paces Cougars to third place finish at Fort Hays
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VICTORIA – It was the final scheduled meet before the Region VI Championships.
But with still three weeks until that meet the Barton cross country teams are still training pretty hard.
So it would not have been a big surprise if the Cougars didn’t record a lot of personal best efforts at the Fort Hays State Tiger Open Saturday in Victoria. In fact, an off-meet all together would not be out of reason.
But forget all that. The Barton men were in prime form at the Sand Plum Nature Trail Course.
The 22nd ranked Cougars finished only behind No. 11 Iowa Western amongst the 10 NJCAA schools there and third overall.
“It was a very good week for the men,” Barton Coach Dave Schenek said. “We trained very hard last week as a group. Normally, when you train through a competition, you look to be off of personal bests. Many of our men had personal bests.”
Kansas Wesleyan won the meet with a 75 followed by Iowa Western at 99. The Cougars scored 111 for third overall. McPherson was fourth at 118. Hutchinson (6), Highland (8) and Garden City (9) all finished in the top 10 among the 18 schools scoring at the meet.
Sampson Laari edged out fellow Jayhawk Conference runner Julian Sanchez-Pinto of Colby for the third spot. Laari ran a 25:16.1 over the 8K course while Pinto was fourth with a 25:18.8.
Sylvester Barus of Iowa Western won the meet with a 24:04.8. Craig Hunt, running unattached, was second at 24:55.9.
In addition to Laari, Barton had several standout efforts.
Elder Colindres continues to lower his time and establish himself as one of the top runners in the region. Colindres took 24th overall in the field of nearly 200 runners. The Dodge City sophomore ran a career-best 26:52.5. It was the second straight meet he lowered his PR.
Right behind Colindres was freshman D’Corian Williams, who ran a personal best 26:54.7 for 26th place. While it is just his third meet of his freshman season so personal bests aren’t that uncommon, it was some 36 seconds better than the previous best for the Floridian.
Sophomore Devyn Brotherton ran for the first time this season and finished 35th with a time of 27:10.6. Marcus Pastran rounded out Barton’s scoring with his 75th place finish in a time of 28:07.4.  
Finishing out the Barton team was Ellinwood freshman Morgan Feemster with a career-best 28:12.2 for 81st place and sophomore Tyler Thornton with a 29:13.6 for 119th.
Three more Cougars ran as individuals for Barton. Anthony Forrest ran a 30:17.8, Treavon Ware 31:53.3, and Robert Portice 33:07.5.
The next scheduled meet is the Region VI Championships at 10 a.m. on Halloween in Overland Park.
“We are excited and looking forward to the region championships,” Coach Schenek said.