Palos Heights, Ill. – Behind a first-place finish by junior Brian Corcoran (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice), the Saint Xavier University men's cross country team opened its season in fine fashion at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Opener this past Saturday at Horsetail Slough Course in Palos Heights, Ill. The Cougars wrapped up the meet with an impressive second-place team finish among the five teams participating. SXU was the only non-NCAA Division I squad in attendance. The Cougars finished with 57 points behind only host Illinois-Chicago with 20. Following Saint Xavier were University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with 66, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with 123 and Chicago State University (Ill.) with 154 points.
Corcoran won the 4.1-mile race in the time of 20:58.8 leading the other 50 competitors across the finish line. Next across for the Cougars was freshman Eric Hancock (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) in 12th place at 21:57. Shortly after came a SXU pack led by junior Chris Shellenberger (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) in 21st place with a time of 22:18, junior Shane Kenney (Porter, Ind./Chesterton) in 25th at 22:37, junior Chris Sarna (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) in 22:48 (26th place) and senior Ricky Olmedo (Blue Island, Ill./Calumet College/Robert Morris/Eisenhower) at 22:55 (29th place). Saint Xavier University men's cross country coach Ed McAllister was happy with the outcome.
"Normally, we have had a tough time matching up with Wisconsin-Milwaukee at this meet, so leading them made me happy," said McAllister. Brian ran a great race. He was challenged by Clink of UIC at the three-mile, but ran a gutsy last mile and eventually won by a respectable 13 seconds, so I have to like that. Eric ran a very nice race in his collegiate debut and I am expecting great things out of him. Our pack was a bit farther back than I would have liked, but it was our first race and I see enormous upside to this team. All in all, it was a good day!"
Saint Xavier has a short week with its next meet, the Olivet Nazarene University Midwest Classic, scheduled for Friday, September 7. The men's race is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start Friday at the Aspen Ridge Golf Course in Bourbonnais, Ill.