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Saints Successful at Cross Country Nationals

11/17/2012 – The men's & women's cross country teams placed fifth overall as a combined program at the NAIA Cross Country Championships in Fort Vancouver, Washington.

The men's team placed fifth to record their eighth top ten finish in the last 13 years. The Saints, who were ranked eighth headed into the championships, recorded the third best finish all-time at the championships for the Saints.

The national meet was highlighted by the All-American performance of Grant Gunneson. The sophomore, who prepped at Rockford High School, paced the Saints with a 20th place performance in a time of 25:09. Gunneson received plenty of support as Dan Foley (25:35) and Jacob Towne (25:41) placed 47th and 54th respectively. Rounding out the scoring for the Saints were Kevin Mahar (25:51) in 69th place and Stephen Glinski (73rd) in 73rd place. Brendan Molony (89th - 26:03) and Jeff Cherry (186th - 26:56) also competed for Aquinas College.

Coach Wojciakowski commented, "That today's performance was a true team effort. The guys are so committed to each other and it was extremely gratifying to see the end result. This group for sure deserved it today. It's was pretty remarkable that we finished fifth as a team with six of the seven guys new to the national experience. What a great day to be a Saint!!!"

The women's cross country team recorded the highest finish ever in the sport as the Saints placed seventh at the NAIA Championships in Fort Vancouver, Washington. The Saints, who entered the Championships as the 14th seed, jumped seven spots to claim the seventh place finish as the exclamation point to a fantastic season.

The championships were highlighted by the top 40 efforts of Alina Dhaseleer and Rachael Steil. The dynamic duo placed 33rd and 40th respectively with Dhaseleer running an 18:37, while Steil stopped the clock at 18:46. The freshman sensations, Britta Patterson and Carley Woolcott, came off the course in 73rd and 77nd place. Patterson, a freshman from Cadillac, crossed the line at 19:11, while Woolcott concluded her fantastic freshman season with a time of 19:13. Catie Rietsema rounded out the scoring for the Saints with a time of 19:55, which was good enough for 155th place. Jamie Sansone (202nd - 20:18) and Crysta Paganelli (299th - 22:07) also competed for Aquinas College.

Coach Wojciakowksi stated, "Before the race began I told the ladies I was already as proud as I could be of them. Following the performance today at the National Championships - I told them I could not be more happier for them. They are a great group of young women and they put it all on the line today for their school. What more could a coach ask for?"

Top Five Combined Programs

1. British Columbia 299 (Men - 6th, Women - 1st)
2. Cal State San Marcos 314 (Men - 3rd, Women - 4th)
3. Oklahoma Baptist 432 (Men - 4th, Women - 6th)
4. College of Idaho 442 (Men - 11th, Women - 2nd)
5. Aquinas College 453 (Men - 5th, Women - 7th)

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