The Greenville University men's cross country team repeated as the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Champions, capturing their conference record 16th title. This marks the first time Greenville has repeated as conference champions since they won 13 straight from 1996-2007 (no meet was held in 1997).
In similar fashion to last year's title, it was the team depth that pushed the Panthers to the championship. After taking places 6-11 last year, the Panthers group bettered themselves today; taking 4-6 and adding another top ten finish. John Mangold paced Greenville with a 4th place finish, completing the 8K course in a time of 25:16. Nathan Potts (25:27) and Jaylen Shelton (25:29) were nearly stride for stride down the stretch and placed 5th and 6th respectively. Dylan Goodyear grabbed the Panthers fourth top ten placement, coming in 8th with a time of 25:42. Greenville finished in first in the team scoring with 35 points, winning by six points; the closest margin since 2010.
Principia College did their best for a team title but came up short, but it was still a memorable day as they became just the second program in conference history to take the top three spots in back to back years. Greenville placed 1,2,3 for three straight years from 1999-2001. After finishing with 60 team points last year despite taking all three top spots, Principia was able to close the gap in the team standings this year and finish with 41 points. Once again it was Zach Matthiesen and Nate Richards leading the way for Principia while Shane Witters Hicks secured 3rd place.
Matthisen and Richards shot out at the start of the race and held a comfortable lead after the first hairpin turn of the course. Neither runner was challenged for the remainder of the race and Matthiesen was able to pull away from Richards at the end, winning his second straight SLIAC Championship. He is the 10th runner in SLIAC history to win multiple individual titles and is the first since Abram Deng, of Spalding, did so in 2011 and 2012.
Webster University took 3rd place with 60 points and Riley Flynn leading the way with a 7th place finish in a time of 25:36.
Spalding University finished 4th with 94 points as Parker Bettag secured a top ten finish, placing 10th, with a time of 26:09.
Blackburn College was 5th with 143 points as Timothy Lacy was their top finisher, coming in 27th overall.
Westminster College finished with 169 points for 6th place. Joseph Labitska paced the Blue Jays, finishing 35th overall with a time of 29:10.
MacMurray College had two runners in the race with Zach Vespa leading the way with a 34th place finish and Tim Frazier finishing 44th.
Fontbonne's Jacob Dixon led the Griffins with a 31st place finish, crossing the finish line at 24:48.
Following the race, the SLIAC announced their 2017 award winners with Collin Kessinger, from Greenville University being named the Newcomer of the Year. Greenville head coach Brian Patton was named the Coach of the Year and Blackburn College received the Team Sportsmanship award. The SLIAC also recognized those individuals from each school on the All-Sportsmanship team: Noah Daum, Blackburn College; Jacob Dixon, Fontbonne University; Nathan Potts, Greenville University; Zach Vespa, MacMurray College; Abe Ott, Principia College; Parker Bettag, Spalding University; Austin Dudley, Webster University; and Jack Pervinich, Westminster College. For a full list of award winners click HERE