Dunne Claims Individual Championship at Early Bird Classic

TAMPA, Fla. – Claiming the team's first-ever individual championship, freshman Carl Dunne guided the new-look Saint Leo men's cross country team to a seventh-place finish at the University of Tampa's Early Bird Classic, Friday evening from the Sydney Dover Trails course.

Dunne, a freshman from Monasterboice, Ireland, sprinted home with a finishing time of 20:20.66. In his first race with the Green and Gold, Dunne averaged a 5:21 mile during the 3.8-mile run. He is the first Lion in the history of the program to earn a first place crown in a race.

Florida Southern (57 points) took home the overall team title with Florida Tech (60 points) just three points off the lead pace.

Finishing with 166 points, the Lions also received outstanding efforts from the cast.  Eric Dirth, fresh off his RNC duties, came back to earn the Lions' runner-up spot and an overall finish of 37th at a time of 21:58.62.

Jeff Van Natter also broke through with an impressive time of 23:28.48, finishing just out of the top-50 in the 107-person field. Spencer Mathis earned a 62nd place finish, while the freshman pair of Michael Walker and David Hill finishing back-to-back with times of 23:55.45 and 23:57.49, respectively.

Steven Brown, Kevin Papac, and Matthew Basin closed-out the Lions successful day with solid opening-season marks.

The Lions will now prepare for the USF Invitational on Saturday, August 7. Hosted by the University of South Florida, the race will take place from the Claw Golf Course.

View the complete results here.

For more on the men's cross country team, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Be sure to follow the Lions on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/saintleolions and twitter.com/saintleolions.