NORMAL, Ill. — Brogan Austin returned to the podium at the Missouri Valley Conference Men's Cross Country Championships for the second year in a row Saturday morning at Weibring Golf Club in Normal, Ill.
The junior finished the 8-kilometer course in 24:25.01 to finish third behind only John Mascari of Indiana State in 24:21 and Zach Dahleen of Southern Illinois in 24:25. Austin won the 2011 MVC Championship, the first Drake athlete to do so since 2004.
The Drake contingent finished fourth in total points at the meet with 137. Southern Illinois won the meet with 34 points and Indiana State followed closely with 40.
"Our men have been battling through a lot all fall," Drake head coach Dan Hostager said. "We didn’t get the team finish we had hoped for, but can’t fault the effort. It’s a tough group
and this will serve them well for the future."
Aside from Austin, a group of young Bulldogs impressed against some of the top competition of the season. Freshman Rob McCann ran the best race of his young career, finishing 25th in 25:32.53.
Sophomore Conor Wells bested veteran teammate Charles Lapham by a second to finish 32nd and run a time of 25:38.27. Lapham was one spot behind in 25:39.85. Guy Eckman capped the scoring for the Bulldogs coming in at 48th in 26:15.36.
The meet saw the first official action of the season for junior Omet Kak. Kak, who has been struggling with injury all season, finished in 26:19.86.
Drake will now take a week off from action to prepare for the NCAA regional meet in two weeks on Friday, Nov. 9 in Springfield, Mo.
MVC Cross Country Championship
Weibring Golf Club, Normal, Ill.
3. Brogan Austin, 24:25.01
25. Rob McCann, 25:32.53
32. Conor Wells, 25:38.27
33. Charles Lapham, 25:39.85
48. Guy Eckman, 26:15.36
50. Omet Kak, 26:19.86
53. Tyler Nelson, 26:25.56
62. Ryan Flynn, 27:04.01
1. Southern Illinois
2. Indiana State
3. Wichita State
5. Northern Iowa
6. Illinois State