Matuszczak earns All-America honors at NCAA championship

Matuszczak earns All-America honors at NCAA championship

SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo senior Rafal Matuszczak placed 39th overall and came away with All-America honors during Saturday morning's 2016 NCAA Division II Men's Cross Country Championship at The Abbey Course at Saint Leo University.

Matuszczak became the program's first NCAA All-American in men's cross country after posting a time of 31:19.5 on The Abbey's challenging 10K course. He was 34th in points as Saint Leo's top finisher.

Fellow senior Niclas Bez posted a time of 32:29.3 for 116th overall, 96th in points.

Junior Anthony Deleva recorded a time of 33:25.4 and crossed 170th overall, 148th in points. Junior Joe Fuller was 209th overall with a time of 34:12.1, and was 186th in points, while senior Adam Urbaniak was the fifth scoring runner for the Lions with a 205 points, 228th overall, with a time of 34:55.1.

Freshman Chris Cabret was Saint Leo's sixth runner across the line with a time of 35:24.6 in 232nd place, taking 209 points as a pusher. Freshman Ronald Cheserek withdrew from the race before completion.

"This was a great day for our veterans and a learning experience for our rookies," said Kent Reiber, Saint Leo's head men's and women's cross country coach. "Rafal ran the best race he has ever run wearing the Green and Gold. To earn All-America status in his final year, and to be the first in our program's history, is truly remarkable."

The Lions recorded 669 points overall to finish 27th among a field of 32 teams, improving by one place over their finish at last season's national championships in Joplin, Mo.

Adams State (Colo.) won the national championship with 54 points, with Grand Valley State (Mich.) taking national runner-up honors with 79 points. Colorado School of Mines (153 points) and Chico State (166 points) placed third and fourth respectively.

Missouri Southern State sophomore Vincent Kiprop won individual national champion honors, after posting a winning time of 29:07.4. Last year's individual champion, Shorter University's Alfred Chelanga, was second with a mark of 29:36.3. Matuszczak was the top runner out of the Sunshine State Conference, and second out of the South Region behind Chelanga.

For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo men's and women's cross country teams, be sure to visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.