Oct. 31, 2010


Courtesy of North Central College Athletics

The North Central College men's cross country once again achieved what has become an annual trophy haul on Saturday, storming away from the field to win the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championship for the 37th consecutive year at Saukie Golf Course.

The top-ranked Cardinals cruised to victory with a total of 17 points, while 18th-ranked Augustana College was the closest pursuer with 67. Wheaton College followed with 78 points, while Illinois Wesleyan University (117), Elmhurst College (129) and Carthage College (156) rounded out the field. Millikin University and North Park University fielded incomplete teams.

North Central's Michael Spain made no contest of the individual competition, owning a six-second lead on the rest of the pack after the first 2,000-meter loop of the 8,000-meter (five-mile) course, and extended it to as many as 20 seconds before hitting the finish line in a season-best time of 24 minutes, 15 seconds.

The Cardinals' Matt Brinkmeier followed his teammate across the line, placing second in a time of 24:32, while Nathan Warstler finished third in 24:35. North Central came within less than a second of a perfect score, as Elmhurst's Pat Austin outraced the Cardinals' Neal Klein and Dan Kerley down the stretch for fourth place in 24:41. Klein and Kerley placed fifth and sixth, respectively, as both were timed in 24:42.

North Central's Timothy Hird finished seventh (24:42) and Matt Perez came in eighth (24:48), giving the Cardinals seven All-CCIW selections. North Central's Kevin Sparks placed 10th in 24:53, earning the conference's Freshman of the Year award as the top freshman finisher.

The Cardinals have won every CCIW championship meet contested since 1974 and have now won 44 conference titles overall. Spain is the 30th individual CCIW champion to represent North Central.

The Cardinals return to Saukie Golf Course on Saturday, Nov. 13, for the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional Championships.