Men's Track & Field - Mon, Apr. 14, 2008
CHICAGO - The Saint Xavier University men's track team opened its outdoor season at the Viking Relays at Augustana College (Ill.) in Rock Island, Ill., on Saturday, March 30. Highlights from this meet included: sophomore John Neisler (Armington, Ill./Olympia) in the 1500 with a time of 4:18.9, sophomore Manny Gonzalez (Chicago, Ill./St. Laurence) also ran in the 1500 posting a time of 4:34.5, while sophomore Eli Hoffman (Mt. Morris, Ill./Oregon) clocked a 4:40.6. However, the spotlight for the Cougars fell upon senior Steven Bugarin (Chicago, Ill./Washington), who won the 5000 meters in 15:44.6.

"Steven just ran this event to get a bit of speed-work," remarked SXU men's track coach Ed McAllister. "He is much better at longer distances. Currently, we are missing a slew of good athletes due to illness or injury. We're a bit gimpy right now, but we'll be much better as we begin to get healthy."

In their second meet of the outdoor season, the Cougars took part in the Chicagoland Championships held at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., on Saturday, April 5. Gonzalez and Hoffman both ran the 1500 and finished in times of 4:28.5 and 4:38.0, respectively. Other highlights for the day were Neisler, who finished second in the 800 meters, in 1:55.96 and Bugarin, who finished fourth in the 10000 meters in 31:57.5. Bugarin's time was sufficient to qualify him for his third consecutive NAIA National Championships to be held in St Louis, Mo., beginning May 22.

"No question that I'm excited about both of these fine runs," said McAllister. "Neisler is farther along than I would have expected. I definitely see him qualifying (for Nationals) in the very near future. Steven's race was one of the best that he has even run. He should also qualify in the marathon and that will pose some question as to which race to have him run at Nationals. Each week we get healthier and stronger."

After having the Elmhurst Intercollegiate Meet cancelled last Saturday due to weather, Saint Xavier continues its outdoor season this Saturday, April 19, at the Olivet Nazarene University Mid-Season Meet in Bourbonnais, Ill.