Gilbert
NCC

NORMAL, Ill. -- Depth helped lead the North Central to yet another victory in the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships on Friday, as the top-ranked Cardinals emerged with a win in a 36-team field by a slim margin at D.A. Weibring Golf Course.

The Cardinals finished with a score of 62 points, tying with Loyola for the top spot in the team standings, which led to the championship being decided by the fastest No. 6 finisher between the two teams. North Central's Mitch Gilbert wound up sealing the win after crossing the finish line 33rd in 25.16, 29 seconds ahead of Loyola's sixth finisher. The victory is the Cardinals' third team title at the statewide meet in the past four seasons.

Loyola's Sam Penzenstadler finished first in the 339-runner field, completing the 8,000-meter (five-mile) course in 24:24. North Central's John Crain was just four seconds off the pace, finishing third overall in 24:48, while teammate Daniel Kerley followed in fourth place in 24:33.

The Cardinals' Yonatan Mascote placed 21st in 25:08, while Ryan Root was one second behind in 22nd and Travis Morrison placed 26th in 25:11. North Central's 44-second gap between its first and fifth finishers was the shortest in the field.