Grand Rapids, Mich. -
The Saint Xavier University men's cross country team came away from the Aquinas College (Mich.) Open with a fifth-place finish in a field of seven teams last Friday at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Open featured highly regarded competition including Grand Valley State University (Mich.) and host Aquinas College, a team ranked No. 3 overall in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Grand Valley State took first overall at Friday's meet with a team score of 15 points. Aquinas finished No. 2 in the team standings with 56 points, while Cornerstone University (Mich.) and Lansing Community College (Mich.) finished third (94 points) and fourth (121), respectively. Saint Xavier finished the race with a team score of 139 points, followed by Siena Heights University (Mich.) with 154 and Olivet College (Mich.) in seventh place with 206 points.
Junior Steven Bugarin (Chicago, Ill./Washington) led the Cougars for the third consecutive week finishing the race in 19th place with a time of 26:20 over the 8,000-meter course. Sophomore Ronald Lavaire (Shelbyville, Ill./Shelbyville) followed him in 34th place at 27:09. The third Cougar runner was freshman Eli Hoffman (Mount Morris, Ill./Oregon) in 40th place overall with a time of 27:52. Freshman John Neisler (Armington, Ill./Olympia) in 54th place at 28:40 and sophomore Maciej Demaj (Lockport, Ill./Reavis) in 59th place at 29:05 completed the SXU team score. The final Cougar runner was Emmanuel Gonzalez (Chicago, Ill./St. Laurence) in 64th place with a time of 29:32. "This was a great meet to take part in," stated SXU men's cross country coach Ed McAllister. "The level of talent here really pressed us to compete. We had a couple of runners who had the flu, however, I make no excuses, and we should have fared better. The gaps between our runners must come down in order for us to be competitive later in the season." The Cougars head to South Bend, Ind., on Friday, September 15, to run at the National Catholic Cross Country Championships at the University of Notre Dame. The meet starts at 4 p.m. and will be the only time this season that the men's team will compete over a five-mile course.View Meet Results