LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Both the Saint Leo men’s and women’s cross country teams took part in the Walt Disney World Invitational from the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex, Saturday morning. In the final tune-up before the Sunshine State Conference Championships, the men closed the 8K race 23rd overall with a team score of 667. The women, on the other hand, closed out their 5K performance 23rd out of 30 teams and a team score of 592.
On the men’s side, veteran Matt Attal used his past course experience to finish the contest as the top Lions’ finisher. He finished 128th overall out of 208 runners with a time of 30:38.00. Freshman Eric Dirth continued to push up the Lions’ leader board, crossing the finish line 146th and a time of 31:46.50. Sophomore Michael Berry broke the tape just over a minute later, concluding the race in 165th. Carson Holton and Robert Tester finished back-to-back posting times of 37:56.20 and 38:17.80, respectively. In total, the Lions had five runners compete and improved their position four spots from last seasons’ Disney Invite.
Overall, Kennesaw State took home the team title in the men’s college division. The squad finished with a team score of 42, more than 56 points ahead of second-place finisher Florida Southern. Andrew Chebii-Singh from Winston-Salem St. took home the individual title, finishing the 8K race with a time of 25:22.40.
Sunshine State Conference opponents, Florida Southern (2nd), Nova Southeastern (4th), and Florida Tech (7th), also took part in the invitational.
For the women, sophomore Kelsey Bradley snagged the top spot for the Green & Gold squad, closing the race with a total time 21:29.10 and a 95th place finish. Alison Luthman claimed the 127th spot in the 279-runner field, finishing 32 seconds behind Bradley with a time of 22:01.50. On the heels of Luthman was the impressive freshman runner Jillian Browne. Her hard work out on the 5K trek earned her a 129th place finish, closing the race with a time of 22:06.40. Emily Eagan was the next Lions’ runner to finish posting a time of 22:57.20 while freshmen Tanja Redmond and Mariah Moss also made an impact for SLU, posting times of 23:02.90 and 23:27.00.
The trio of Allison Cary, Dana Graham, and Emily Zambito closed out competition for Saint Leo. They concluded the race posting times of 24:32.00, 25:15.10 and 26:13.50, respectively.
The women’s squad continues to make strides, as they shaved over a minute off of last year’s finishing time, while improving their position over 10 spots.
Kennesaw State made it a clean sweep of the Disney Invitational as they took home the women’s overall team title. The team closed with a team score of 79 points, edging the University of Central Florida by four points. Kennesaw State runner Mackenzie Howe took home the invitational title, as well, finishing the race with a final time of 18:07.60.
Five SSC teams took part in the Disney event with Florida Southern finishing higher than any of the squads.
Both teams will now take a one week break before gearing up for the Sunshine State Conference Championships on October 24. Start time for the SSC Championship hosted by Florida Southern is currently set for 8:00 a.m.