Palos Heights, Ill. -
The Saint Xavier University men's cross country team stayed close to home on Saturday, September 2, participating in the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Home Opener cross country meet at Horsetail Slough in Palos Heights, Ill. Behind a first-place overall finish by junior Steven Bugarin (Chicago, Ill./Washington), the Cougars finished in fifth place in the six-team meet, which featured the best of the local NCAA Division I squads from Loyola, Illinois-Chicago, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Chicago State. Bugarin bested 55 other runners with an impressive time of 20:50 on the 4.1-mile course.
"There is no question that this was one of Bugarin's finest races," stated SXU men's cross country coach Ed McAllister. "He gauged the leaders well and overtook them with a fantastic burst with about 300 yards to the finish. His kick was so strong that no one had time to react until it was too late." Following Bugarin was sophomore Ronald Lavaire (Shelbyville, Ill./Shelbyville) at No. 13 overall with a time of 21:46. Rounding out the team scoring for Saint Xavier was freshman Eli Hoffman (Mount Morris, Ill./Oregon) in 32nd place at 22:44, sophomore Maciej Demaj (Lockport, Ill./Reavis) at No. 35 with a 23:10 clocking, and freshman John Neisler (Armington, Ill./Olympia) in 36th place at 23:22. Also finishing for the Cougars were freshman Manny Gonzalez (Chicago, Ill./St. Laurence) at No. 41 with a time of 24:09 and freshman Matt Miller (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn) in 43rd place at 24:16. Overall, DePaul and UIC tied for the team title with 51 points followed by Loyola with 62. Wisconsin-Green Bay finished fourth with 95 points followed by the Cougars with 105, and Chicago State wrapped up the team scoring with 190 points. "Overall, I was not too satisfied with our overall team performance, however, I don't want anything to upstage the accomplishment of Bugarin today," said McAllister. "He was fantastic. As for the rest of the team, we have a long season to continue to improve. One sub-par day will only allow us to focus on the next task at hand." The next meet is indeed a formidable one as the Cougars travel to Grand Rapids, Mich., to run in the Aquinas Invitational (Mich.) on Friday, September 8. This meet pits the Cougars against nine other tough teams, including three NAIA ranked squads in No. 3 Aquinas, No. 19 Spring Arbor University (Mich.), and No. 31 Cornerstone University (Mich.). SXU heads into this meet ranked No. 32 in the NAIA preseason poll. This 8K meet will begin at 4 p.m. (eastern).View Meet Results