IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Saint Louis cross country team completed its season Friday at the NCAA Division I Midwest Region Cross Country Championships, held at Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa.
The men’s team wrapped up its best season ever with a 12th place finish in the regional, the top finish ever for the Billikens.
Manuel De Backer led the way for Saint Louis, finishing 51st overall. Matt Prest came in second amongst the Bills and 66th overall. They were followed by Neal Fitzpatrick, Lance Mueller, Aaron Dugan, Hiob Gebisso and Dorrian Gordon.
On the women’s side, Anna Schmitz led SLU, followed by Courtney Link, Megan Kress, Courtney Pfanstiel, Natalie Davis, Ellie Adams and Hannah Pierson.
"Our 12th place finish at the regional championships caps off a great season for our men," SLU head coach Jon Bell said. "The men ran within themselves and executed their race plans well. We were as high as 10th in the team standings with 1K to go, but our youth and inexperience over 10K showed, as we faded a little. Despite that, it was our best team finish ever at the regional meet. More importantly this result sets up the next two-year window for this group of men. The majority of the group are sophomores, so we hope to use this season as a spring board for next few cross country seasons. We will continue to set the goal of winning the Atlantic 10 championship and placing even better at the regional championship.
"As for the women, this year was a learning year," Bell said. "We had student athletes returning from missing all of last year with injuries. We added new freshmen. We had others sustain injuries. These are challenges every team faces, and I'm proud of the way our women handled these challenges. All season long they worked hard and tried to overcome these difficulties. They executed their best race plan of the season at the regional meet, so that is a great way to end the season. Our goal for the women between now and next season is to stay consistent with our training and improve our fitness."