INDIANOLA, Iowa – The Simpson men's cross country team opened the season with a second-place finish at its own Bill Buxton Invitational, held at Pickard Park on Friday night.
Led by Nick Yaeger and Blake Willadsen, the Storm finished with 74 points, trailing only 14th-ranked Loras. The Duhawks scored 15 points, ahead of Simpson, Coe (94), William Penn (112), Grand View (126) and Buena Vista (128).
The threat of severe weather moved the start time up 30 minutes and rain throughout the week leading up to the meet made for a sloppy course, but fourth-year head coach Heath Moenck was happy with the team's effort.
"It was fantastic to open up our season on our home course with great competition," Moenck said. "Both groups handled the adverse conditions admirably."
The top finisher for the Storm at last year's NCAA Central Region Championship, Yaeger finished 12th overall, navigating the hilly, muddy course in 21:21.9. Willadsen was right behind Yaeger in 13th place, finishing in 21:22.5.
"Our guys ran a good team race," Moenck said. It was a tough course and our guys battled the entire way."
The Storm return to action next Friday, Sept. 5 when they travel to Sioux Falls, S.D. for the Augustana Twilight. The women's three-mile race begins at 8:30 p.m. followed by the men's four-mile at 9 p.m.