Grand Rapids, Mich. - Cold and rain greeted the Saint Xavier University men's cross country squad in Grand Rapids, Mich., Saturday at the Great Lakes Challenge hosted by Aquinas College (Mich.) at Riverside Park. This meet is traditionally the last meet for cross country squads throughout the Midwest prior to conference championships and it pitted 39 of the finest NAIA teams across the 8K (8,000 meters) rolling course at Riverside Park. The No. 14 ranked Cougars were surrounded by talented teams, including No. 1 University of St. Francis (Ill.), No. 3 Aquinas College (Mich.), No. 7 Shawnee State University (Ohio) and No. 12 Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.).
SXU did not disappoint against the tough field. Once again, the lead man for the Cougars was senior Brian Corcoran (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) with an 8th place overall finish in the field of 387 runners with a time of 25:11. Closely behind Corcoran in 18th place was sophomore Eric Hancock (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) running in 25:40. Topping off the Saint Xavier scoring was a strong quartet of senior Chris Shellenberger (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) in 36th place at 26:05, senior Brian Meyer (Bloomington, Ill./Ashford University/Bloomington) in 43rd with a time of 26:10, senior Chris Sarna (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) in 50th place running at 26:18 and senior Shane Kenney (Porter, Ind./Chesterton) in 26:28. The seventh runner for the Cougars was freshman Abel Hernandez (Alsip, Ill./Shepard) in 77th place with a time of 26:42. Overall, the Cougars placed fifth as a team in this prestigious field as St. Francis (Ill.) edged Olivet Nazarene for the team title.
"This was truly a team high point for the season," said SXU men's cross country coach Ed McAllister. "Everyone is running toward their individual peak and we are functioning as a unit as well as any team that I have coached here. Corcoran ran a smart strategic race and Hancock unleashed the best performance of his career. Brian Meyer ran hurt, but still was able to have a strong performance. Shane Kenney is moving up weekly and Abel Hernandez is starting to get some solid performances behind him. I believe that we will be ready for conference in two weeks. I am very excited."
Saint Xavier competes in its last regular season meet on Saturday, November 6, at Valparaiso, Ind., at the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Championships. The meet begins at 11 a.m.