TAMPA, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's cross country team earned its first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II National Championship race thanks to a 3rd place finish at the NCAA South Region race, Saturday morning from Sydney Dover Trails in Tampa, Fla. Their team score of 73 trailed the second place team, P.R. – Rio Piedras, by just two points.
Sophomore Valentin Lenz led the Lions' effort, finishing the 10K race with a time of 32:48.90 to earn 3rd place. Freshman Rafal Matuszczak finished less than ten seconds behind Lenz with a time of 32:55.80, giving him a 5th place finish.
The Lions' third top-10 finish came from SSC Runner of the Year, Carl Dunne, who crossed the tape at 33:04.80 and earned a 9th place finish.
Rounding out the squad's top-20 finishers was freshman Niclas Bez, whose 17th place finish came at 33:52.70. Lenz, Matuszczak, Dunne, and Bez were all named to the USTFCCA All-Region team.
It was Florida Southern who took home the team prize in the race, with a final score of 65, while Fernando Ojeda from P.R.- Rio Piedras finished first overall.
The Saint Leo men's cross country team will get back in action on November 23, when they travel to Spokane, Washington to compete in the NCAA Division II National Championship race for the first time in Saint Leo history.
For more on the men's cross country program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.