TAMPA, Fla. - Both the Saint Leo men’s and women’s cross country teams concluded their 2009 seasons at the NCAA Southeast Regional, Saturday morning from Dover Park. The men concluded their 8K race in 15th-place and a team score of 464. The women, on the other hand, had a 12th-place showing and accumulated 315 points, as they wrapped up their 5K race.
Matt Attal set the pace for the Lions, as his consistent running once again allowed him to culminate the race as the Lions’ top finisher. His time of 38:07 placed him 89th of 105 runners and 29 seconds ahead of his teammate Michael Berry. Berry, a top-finisher for the team all season, broke the tape in 88th-place with a time of 38:36. Freshman Eric Dirth was the next Saint Leo runner to cross the line, as his time of 39:59 landed him in the 92nd spot.
Carson Holton broke the list as one of top-100 finishers at the national event, polishing off the race with a time of 43:06. Robert Tester and Jeremy Doty finished back-to-back to round out the Lions’ team. Tester topped–off the race with a time of 50:21, while Doty ended the race in 51:00 flat.
Overall, Daniel Kirwa of Harding University was the individual winner, closing the race with a time of 31:10. Kirwa’s teammates captured three of the top four spots in the race as they won the Southeast Region Championship. 15 teams took part on the men’s side, including four member of the Sunshine State Conference. Florida Southern claimed the second spot and Nova Southeastern rounded out the top-three.
As for the SLU women, freshman Jillian Brown ran a remarkable race for the Lions. She broke out of the pack and took to the lead group for the first three miles of the race. The freshman runner only slid back a few spots back from the lead group as she broke the tape in 38th-place out of 94 runners, and a time of 25:04. Kelsey Bradley was the next Lions’ runner to finish, ultimately concluding action in 58th-place and a time of 26:13.Teammate Alison Luthman was nipping at the heels of her fellow teammates, completing the regional in 68th-place and a time of 26:39.
Freshmen Emily Egan and Mariah Moss gained some much needed national race experience, as they halted the race in 75th and 76th-place, respectively. Egan finished with a time of 27:18 and Moss followed just two seconds behind at 27:20.
Tanja Redmond wrapped-up action in 78th position (27:43) and Allison Cary rounded-out the seven-member team in 88th-place with a time of 29:20.
Overall for the women, Sara Trane from conference foe Florida Tech continued her outstanding year, finishing more than 20 seconds ahead of Jessica Butler from Tampa. However, Butler’s second-place finish, along three other Spartans’ top ten finishes, allowed them to take home the overall team title. Four SSC teams also took part of the 14-team field, with Florida Southern and Florida Tech each cracking the top-five.
Both teams will now begin training for the 2010-11 season. The men will return all of their runners and the women will only graduate one runner.