CHICAGO – Saint Xavier University men's cross country and track coach Ed McAllister is excited about the decision of freshman Eric Hancock to continue his academic and athletic career at SXU for the upcoming 2012-13 year. Hancock hails from Mishawaka, Ind., where he was a standout cross country and track runner for the Cavemen of Mishawaka High School. Hancock was a two-year state finalist at Mishawaka in both sports as well. He is the son of Fred and Angie Hancock of Mishawaka and plans to study biology starting this year at Saint Xavier University.
"I am extremely excited to have Eric on this team," said McAllister. "While he has already experienced great success at the high school level, I feel that his potential leads me to assume that he will be even better at the collegiate level. He has the ability to make an immediate impact on this team and I feel that he will achieve great success here at Saint Xavier. We are thrilled to add him to an already solid lineup."
The 2012 SXU men's cross country roster brings a variety of youth and veterans with the emphasis heavy on veterans. The Cougars will miss some of their 2011 graduates in Matt Rychel, Brandon Hummer and Dan Hasty; but the 2012 squad still looks extremely bright. Leading the way is junior Brian Corcoran (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice). The two-time national qualifier and all-conference honoree should once again raise eyebrows around the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). Right behind Corcoran is a pack of sterling juniors in Shane Kenney (Porter, Ind./Chesterton), Chris Shellenberger (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) and Chris Sarna (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg). This group appears ready to grasp the mantle of leadership from last year's graduates.
Sophomore Kyle Counter (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) and senior Ricky Olmedo (Blue Island, Ill./Calumet College/Robert Morris/Eisenhower) also add a strong pack element to the roster and the ability to step up within this group. Sophomore Mark Catania (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) and freshman Matt Krakowski (Alsip, Ill./Marist) round out this group of veteran runners.
"I will sorely miss last year's outstanding group of seniors, but ‘on paper,' I believe that this team will be even better than last year's," continued McAllister. "Maturity is the key word with this year's team. We return six outstanding runners and the ability to meld this group into a solid core is our ongoing goal. Brian will definitely lead the way for us. He was beset by a nagging injury last year that we are confident is behind him. Kenney, Shellenberger and Sarna provide a solid core. I am truly excited about the emergence of Kyle for this season. He had made dramatic moves as a freshman last year and I expect him to establish himself at the front of the Cougar pack this fall. Eric should be able to make an immediate impact on this team. I try not to put too much pressure on a freshman, but he will surprise a whole bunch of people this year."
Saint Xavier opens its 2012 season on Saturday, September 1, at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Opener at Horsetail Slough in Palos Heights, Ill. The men's race is scheduled for a 10:30 a.m. start.