Lions Open Strong with Fourth Place Finish at USF Invitational

TAMPA, Fla. – Despite a lengthy weather delay that pushed the start time back over an hour, the Saint Leo men's cross country team opened their 2013 campaign with a vengeance, earning a fourth place team finish at The Claw golf course during the USF Bulls Cross Country Invitational, Friday evening.

Due to the late start time, both the men's and women's races were combined, with each group running a 5k loop simultaneously.

Three Lions claimed top 20 finishes, led by Rafal Matuszczak who crossed the line with a  time of 14:51.44, placing him in fourth place individually. 

Sophomore Carl Dunne was three slots behind Matuszczak, earning a seventh place finish with a time of 15:03.53.  Valentin Lenz wrapped up the course with a time of 15:19.19, good for the 17th fastest time.  All three blew the previous school 5k record out of the water, easily surpassing the time of 16:27.69  set by Jon Norris back on October 1, 2011 at the FLrunners.com meet.

Embry-Riddle and Florida Southern took home the overall team titles with each squad pulling in 60 points.  Nova Southeastern narrowly edged out the Lions by one point, earning 82 points to the Green and Gold's 83.

Individually, Florida A&M claimed the first two spots, followed by Chris Yanichko from Florida Southern, who crossed the tape before Matuszczak.

The Lions received outstanding efforts from the entire squad, with Christopher Westfall crossing the line with a time of 16:00.68.  Patrick Hill and David Hill finished one-two with times of 16:12.42 and 16:13,96, respectively.  Adam Krstec was two places behind the Hill duo, finishing with a time of 16:17.75.

Rafael Lohner and James Mullin completed the race back-to-back with times of 16:31.37 and 16:32.40, while Brian Haynes completed the course with a mark of 16.38.63.  Steven Brown completed the evening with a showing of 17:02.81, while David Gardner and Matthew Basin compiled times of 17:33.84 and 18:07.97, respectively.

The Lions return to action on Saturday, September 14, when they take part in the Mountain Dew Invitational hosted by the University of Florida.  Start time is slated for 7:55 a.m. at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.

For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo men's cross country team, be sure to visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.