Cheserek leads men’s XC in collegiate debut at Florida Tech

Cheserek leads men’s XC in collegiate debut at Florida Tech

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Saint Leo freshman Ron Cheserek announced his presence on the Sunshine State Conference cross country stage by taking first place at Saturday's Florida Tech Invitational at Wickham Park.

And he announced it with authority.

Cheserek clocked a time of 25:08.27 while winning the 8K event, which was held on the same Wickham Park course that will host the Sunshine State Conference Championship in late October.

He also crossed the line just over eight seconds faster than the second place runner, Florida Southern's Bobby Ormsby (25:16.69). Ormsby last competed in 2014 after redshirting the 2015 season, but finished third overall at the 2014 SSC Championship and also placed third at that season's NCAA South Region Championship.

The Lions placed three runners among the top 10 in Saturday's Florida Tech event.

Senior Rafal Matuszczak was fifth among non-Division I runners in fifth place with a time of 25:53.29, followed by junior Anthony Deleva in ninth place at 26:14.40. Senior Niclas Bez was just outside the top 10 in 12th place, crossing the line in 26:21.36. Senior Adam Urbaniak finished 34th overall (scoring 33rd) with a time of 27:39.51 to round out the list of scoring runners for Saint Leo, who finished second in the team standings.

Freshmen Chris Cabret and Allen Keister were the pushers for Saint Leo; Cabret was 38th overall (scoring 37th) with a time of 27:50.81, while Keister was 40th overall (scoring 39th) after clocking a time of 27:56.42.

"This was a good workout for us today," said Kent Reiber, Saint Leo's head men's and women's cross country coach. "The goal was a start out around 3:20 per kilometer and negative split from there. The guys executed well, but we know there's much more work to do… it's only September."

Rounding out the list of Saint Leo finishers were junior Joe Fuller (45th, 28:12.50), junior Matt Gargiulo (52nd, 28:26.78), freshman Ilio Sanchez (56th, 28:42.66), junior Stephen Brown (57th, 28:46.76), freshman Eric Hermes (61st, 29:08.69), freshman Tyler Pantley (69th, 29:48.21), freshman Seamus Chalmers (79th, 30:50.86), senior David Gardner (86th, 21:47.18)

Florida Southern won the 11-team event with 49 points, with Saint Leo not far off the pace in second place with 60 points. Embry-Riddle placed third with 82 points.

The Lions originally scheduled 2016 opener was slated for last Friday at the Southeastern University Fire Short Course Invitational. That event was cancelled amid the wind and rain accompanying Hurricane Hermine, forcing both Saint Leo cross country teams to delay their much anticipated season start to today's Florida Tech event.

Saint Leo men's cross country is idle from competition next week, but returns to competition on Saturday, Sept. 24, when it travels to Gainesville, Fla., to compete in the University of Florida Mountain Dew Invitational.

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