FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It was another great meet for Sampson Laari. The sophomore for the Barton men’s cross country team bested his personal best and notched the second fastest 8K in school history this past weekend.
Laari ran a 24:25.46 at the toughest meet of the season for the Cougars – the Chili Pepper Festival hosted by the University of Arkansas. The record at Barton is 23:54 held by Richard Kosgei in 1992 at the Woody Greeno in Nebraska.
The sophomore from Ghana led Barton to a 21st place finish among the 33 teams in the collegiate division. Laari was 24th overall among the 466 runners. He finished seventh among runners in the collegiate division. The meet was broken into two divisions – university and collegiate with all the runners running together.
The only NJCAA runner to beat Laari was Iowa Central’s Andrew Ronoh, who finished second overall with a time of 23:33.70. Marc Scott of the University of Tulsa won the meet with a 23:30.9.
Barton, ranked No. 22 in the NJCAA, lost only to Iowa Central among 2-year teams at the Festival. Iowa Central finished sixth.
“This group lost their full time distance coach three weeks ago and have not missed a step,” Barton track coach Dave Schenek said. Schenek is filling in for Parker Cowles who left for a similar position at the Air Force Academy.
“They still work hard every day, don’t complain and are patient on the process of finding a new coach for them. In the midst of all this they are running as fast as they’ve ever run.”
It was a ways back to the next runner for Barton after Laari. Sophomore Elders Colindres ran a new personal best as well with a 27:17.00 to place 124th in the collegiate division. D’Corian Williams, a freshman, was 137th with a 27:30.27 and Marcus Pastran 165th in 27:58.50.
Freshman Morgan Feemster ran a 28:33.98 for 185th while Tyler Thornton ran a 29:14.5 and Anthony Forrest a 31:38.45.
Barton will find the competition a bit easier and less crowded this weekend when they travel to Victoria for the Fort Hays State Tigers Open.