CHICAGO - Paced by sophomore Matt Rychel (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew), the Saint Xavier University men's cross country team opened their season at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Opener at Horsetail Slough in Palos Hills, Ill, on Saturday. In addition to SXU, this meet included four NCAA Division I teams from the Horizon Conference in UIC, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Chicago State University (Ill.). The Cougars finished third out of the five teams competing behind UIC and UW-Milwaukee, while besting UW-Green Bay and Chicago State. Rychel finished 10th among the 36 runners over the 4.1 mile course in a time of 22:02. Junior Evan Lowry (Horton, Mich./Hanover-Horton) closely followed in 11th place in 22:03, while senior Emmanuel Gonzalez (Chicago, Ill./St. Laurence) placed 12th at 22:07. Sophomore Dan Hasty (Oak Lawn, Ill./Brother Rice) followed the trio with a 16th place finish in 22:13 and sophomore Buck Hill (Streator, Ill./Ottawa-Marquette) claimed 17th with a time of 22:14. Junior Roy Witty (Mount Greenwood, Ill./Marist) was next across the finish line for SXU at 22:40 and a 20th place finish. Sophomore Andy Peters (Yellow Springs, Ohio/Yellow Springs) also finished for the Cougars in 22nd place at 23:05 and sophomore Brandon Hummer (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South) wrapped things up for the team with a 26th place finish at 23:46. Saint Xavier men's cross country coach Ed McAllister was cautiously optimistic about his team's performance.
"I felt that we got a bit off the pace in the final two miles," said McAllister. "However, good performances from Gonzalez, Hasty and Hill provides us with considerable depth. I am also satisfied that the gap from the times of our No. 1 runner to our No. 5 runner was only 12 seconds. We will get better from here." SXU heads to Bourbonnais, Ill, on Friday, September 11, to take part in the Midwest Classic sponsored by Olivet Nazarene University. The men's race is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.Click here for the results of the 2009 UIC Opener