SAINT LEO, Fla. – Hosting the 2013 Sunshine State Conference Cross Country Championship at the Abbey Golf Course in Saint Leo, Fla. proved to be the perfect setting for the Saint Leo men's cross country team on Saturday morning. With an impressive home crowd, the Lions notched a new program best by finishing second overall, completing the event with 41 points.
Sophomore Carl Dunne set a new Abbey Course record, shattering the previous time as he completed the 8K course in 25:37, for a career second-best. The Monasterboice, Ireland native claimed the individual title with his first place finish, marking the first time a runner from Saint Leo has claimed the honor on the men's side.
"I'm really happy, I still can't really believe that it's happened," said Dunne. "I was thinking last night about how it would be really cool if I could win at home in front of everybody, but I didn't really think it would come true. The support today was great. All of the students, friends, and family that came out was amazing. You could just hear people shouting all around the course, and it was really something special. Coming down the finish was definitely a moment I will never forget."
Valentin Lenz claimed second place, finishing in 25:45, while Niclas Bez earned a time of 26:19, good for ninth overall. Lenz, Bez, and Dunne earned All-Championship honors for their times, finishing in the top-10 out of a total of 60 runners.
Rafal Matuszczak was one slot out of the All-Championship team, finishing 11th place overall with a time of 26.22. James Mullin pulled in an 18th place finish on the morning, completing the course in 27:05 for a season second best.
Rafael Lohner picked up his second best time of the season, as well, finishing with a time of 27:23, to claim 23rd overall. Senior Brian Haynes was four spots back, earning a time of 27:30 in his final SSC Championship of his career.
The No. 25 Florida Southern Moccasins were back on the podium for the first time since 2010 after they claimed their conference-leading 16th team SSC Championship Title, earning 34 points on the day. The Lions finished behind the Mocs, followed by Nova Southeastern in third.
The Lions return to action on November 9, when they run in the NCAA South Region Championship meet, hosted by the University of Tampa at the Sydney Dover Trails.
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.