Palos Heights, Ill. - Led by an outstanding second-place finish by sophomore Brian Corcoran (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice), the Saint Xavier University men's cross country team opened its 2011 season at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Home Opener at Horsetail Slough course in Palos Heights, Ill., on Saturday, September 3. Overall, the Cougars finished fifth as a team in the seven-team field of NCAA Division I opponents. Loyola University (Ill.) won the meet with 31 points, followed by the host UIC squad with 56, DePaul University (Ill.) with 74, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with 99, SXU at 116, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with 170 and Chicago State University at 206.
Corcoran traversed the 4.1-mile course in 20:44, bested only by DePaul's senior Matt Graham, the winner in 20:30. Senior Matt Rychel (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) was next across for the Cougars in 25th place with a time of 21:52, followed by sophomore Shane Kenney (Porter, Ind./Chesterton) in 34th place with 22:30, senior Andy Peters (Yellow Springs, Ohio/Yellow Springs) in 35th with 22:32 and freshman Kyle Counter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) in 37th at 22:47. Rounding out the Cougars' top seven were senior Brandon Hummer (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South) in 38th place at 22:56 and sophomore Chris Sarna (Palos Park, Ill./Stagg) in 44th place at 23:01.
"A good beginning," said SXU men's cross country coach Ed McAllister. "The times were not great, probably due in part to the 93-degree temperature at race time. Overall though, I am satisfied in the way that we started. Corcoran was outstanding today and I feel that we have a strong group behind him. We held out junior Ricky Olmedo for precautionary measures, so we will improve just that much in the future. Our next two meets will tell me a lot about where this team is going."
Saint Xavier competes at the Midwest Classic hosted by Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) on Friday, September 9, in Bourbonnais, Ill. This meet lists some of the best NAIA teams in the Midwest. The men's race begins at 5:45 p.m.