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Cross Country - Fri, Sep. 15, 2017

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Saint Xavier cross country put in a strong showing at one of the largest meets on the Cougars' schedule, as SXU competed at the National Catholic Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame on Friday.

Results: Men | Women

The women's team placed second out of 14 programs in the college division, made up of non-NCAA Division I teams. Senior Ellie Willging (Illinois-Chicago / Freeport, Ill.) led the way, running a season-best 17:34.8 to finish 4th overall and 1st in the college division, beating over 80 Division I athletes.

On the men's side, the Cougars placed 5th of 16 teams, just missing out on a podium finish by two points, falling short to Siena Heights (Mich.) and Franciscan (Ohio), 125-126-127. Seniors Abel Hernandez (Shepard HS / Alsip, Ill.) and Alan Guzman (Morton CC / Berwyn, Ill.) were the top finishers for SXU, placing 2nd and 3rd in the college division with a season-best 8K time of 25:39. The duo placed 14th and 15th overall, among a field of 85 Division I runners.

Including Willging, four runners ran season PRs in the women's race. Sierra Downey (Morton CC / Stickney, Ill.) finished 10th with a 19:27.7, while freshman Tazneem Jaber finished in 21:15.8 to finish 50th, and senior Jocelyn Camacho (Argo Community HS / Summit, Ill.) came in 53rd with a time of 21:28.9. Scoring for the Cougars were sophomore Grace Maletich (Downers Grove North HS / Woodridge, Ill.) and senior Rachal Brooks (Mother McAuley HS / Chicago, Ill.), with 29th and 30th place finishes respectively, posting times of 20:24 and 20:25. Rounding out the top five was Lorena Garcia (Eisenhower HS / Blue Island, Ill.), placing 42nd with a time of 21:00.

Scoring runners for the men included Gabriel Esparza (Eisenhower HS / Blue Island, Ill.) (16th; 27:04.0), Mario Scarcelli (Joliet West HS / Joliet, Ill.) (52nd; 29:06.0), and Ivan Diaz (Solorio Academy / Chicago, Ill.) (67th; 29:46.3).

Saint Xavier will now prepare for their next meet, the Bethel College Pilot Invitational, on Friday, October 6 in Mishawaka, Ind.