Rensselaer, Ind. - Led by coach Ed McAllister, the Saint Xavier University men's cross country team headed across the Indiana border last Saturday to Rensselaer, Ind., for the Puma Invitational. The meet pitted SXU against host Saint Joseph College's squad and local rival Robert Morris College (Ill.). For the second consecutive year, the Cougars finished on top with a team score of 33 to Saint Joe's 35 and 56 for Robert Morris. For the third consecutive year, senior Steven Bugarin (Chicago, Ill./Washington) won the individual title with a time of 18:40 over the 6K course. Bugarin was followed by a solid pack of SXU runners led by freshman Roy Witty (Mount Greenwood, Ill./Marist) in fifth place in a time of 19:31, followed closely behind by freshman Matt Corley (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) in sixth place with 19:33 and then freshman Evan Lowry (Horton, Mich./Hanover-Horton) in seventh in 19:41. The final Cougar scorer (only the top five runners score for a team) was sophomore John Neisler (Armington, Ill./Olympia) in 14th place with 20:32. Rounding out the Cougar squad was freshman Joel Wojcik (Chicago, Ill./Lane Tech) in 15th place at 20:34 and sophomore Eli Hoffman (Mount Morris, Ill./Oregon) in 22nd place with a time of 21:08. McAllister was happy with his squad's performance.
"Steve ran his usual solid race and I have come to expect that from him," said McAllister. "However, the things that made me the happiest were the gutsy performances of our new Youngbloods.' I feel that this freshmen group is the strongest overall in our history. They run as a group, are unimpressed with their new collegiate opposition, and appear to be tough competitors. We still are not clicking on all cylinders, but as we come together as a group, this team should really improve. I'm very excited." Saint Xavier stays close to home next Saturday as they face some of the top local runners in Chicagoland at the UIC Opener, held at Horsetail Slough in Palos Park, Ill. SXU faces a formidable field as they compete against teams from the host UIC Flames, as well as Loyola, DePaul, Chicago State, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay. The meet will be held at 10:30 a.m.Click here for results from the Puma Invitational