Lawrence, Kan. – With the 2013 NAIA National Cross Country Championships set to move to Lawrence, Kansas, in November, it also marked the debut of the 2013 NAIA Pre-Nationals Invitational hosted by the Lawrence Sports Commission at legendary Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. This new meet brought together 34 of the top NAIA cross country teams from as far away as Idaho and Florida to one spot to compete head-to-head. The Saint Xavier University men's cross country team accepted the challenge and were very pleased with the end result. In one of the greatest performances ever for the team, the Cougars finished fifth overall in one of the most prestigious meets of the year.
Crossing the finish line first for SXU was senior Brian Corcoran (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) in 12th place among the 272 runners competing with an impressive time of 25:28 over the challenging 8K course (8,000 meters). Next in line for the Cougars was sophomore Eric Hancock (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) in 27th place at 26:04. Following Hancock was the trio of senior Chris Shellenberger (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) in 58th place with a time of 26:40, junior Kyle Counter (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) in 61st at 26:42 and senior Chris Sarna (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) in 62nd place at 26:42. Senior Brian Meyer (Bloomington, Ill./Ashford University/Bloomington) was next across in 111th place with a time of 27:23, followed by senior Shane Kenney (Porter, Ind./Chesterton) in 121st place at 27:34 and finally freshman Abel Hernandez (Alsip, Ill./Shepard) in 141st at 27:53.
"This was undoubtedly the finest performance of this season and probably many seasons past," said an extremely elated Ed McAllister, the Saint Xavier University men's cross country coach. "The real telling point for our success was the three-man combination of Shellenberger, Counter and Sarna. By running as a pack, this group really created great depth for us. Much of the credit for the success Saturday must be given to (assistant coach) Arturs Bareikis. Coach Bareikis created a race plan that proved to be 'on-the-money.' Everyone followed it perfectly and we enjoyed our greatest success of the year. It will be necessary to continue our serious work and training for each of our next two extremely challenging meets. However, for one day, we can rest on our laurels and be proud of our accomplishments."
Saint Xavier is off this weekend and runs next at the Great Lakes Regional Invitational hosted by Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Saturday, October 26. The men's race is scheduled for an 11 a.m. (eastern) start. This meets assembles many of the top-rated teams from around the Midwest. It will be the last meet for the Cougars before the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Championships on November 9.