Oct. 1, 2010

 

Courtesy of North Central Athletics

The North Central College men's cross country team achieved a pair of individual first-place finishes and nearly swept a pair of team titles Friday, claiming second place in the Gold Division at the Notre Dame Invitational and picking up a first-place finish at the Carthage Invitational.

The Cardinals, in their second straight week as the No. 1-ranked NCAA Division III team in the nation, took to the course against competitors from all collegiate divisions at Notre Dame and placing second in a 16-team field with 54 points. Regionally-ranked NCAA Division I representative Eastern Michigan University won the event with 47 points. The third-place finishers from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point totaled 122 points.

Remaining unbeaten on the season was North Cenrtral's Michael Spain, who cruised to the individual championship by completing the 8,000-meter (five-mile) course in 24 minutes, 41 seconds. Eastern Michigan's Terefe Ejigu was 11 seconds back in second place, while third-place finisher Albert Cardenas of the University of Texas-San Antonio was 38 seconds off the pace.

The Cardinals' next four finishers crossed the line within four seconds of each other. Yonatan Mascote nearly cracked the top 10, placing 11th (25:29), while Matt Brinkmeier was 13th (25:31), Pat Lesiewicz was 14th (25:33) and Neal Klein finished 15th (25:33).

North Central had four of the top five finishers at Carthage and won with a total of 21 points, while Marquette University placed second out of five teams with a score of 48. As at Notre Dame, the Cardinals had the top overall finisher, as Jon Kaufmann was clocked in 26:53. Kaufmann was 10 seconds ahead of his closest pursuer, Jack Hackett of Marquette.

Emilio Saraga placed third overall (27:10) for the Cardinals, while Richard McNichols was fourth (27:37), Matt Mazzoni placed fifth (27:55) and David Weber finished eighth (28:01).

North Central will also compete in a pair of meets next weekend, sending a reserve squad to the Benedcitine University Invitational on Friday, while the team's top athletes will travel to Wartburg College (Iowa) for the Pre-Nationals.