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Drake Men's Cross Country Battles Deep Field At Bradley Classic

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: October 11, 2012
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PEORIA, Ill. — A short-handed Drake men's cross country split squad finished 13th in a strong field of some of the top teams in the midwest Friday, Oct. 12 at the Bradley Classic. The 8-kilometer race was held at the Newman Golf course in Peoria, Ill.

Mike Rodriguez (Chanhassen, Minn.) was the top finisher for the Bulldogs for the second time this season. The senior finished in 25:29, in 36th place. He won the Grand View Invitational in September for his other top finish for the Bulldogs.

"This was our first glimpse of getting to see some other MVC teams and where we stack up," Rodriguez said. "We have a lot of work to do to get to the top, but we also didn't have our top four guys."

The remainder of the team will compete tomorrow morning at the Louisville Pre-Nationals meet. The invite-only meet is a precursor to the National Championship to be held there in November.

Sophomore Tyler Nelson (Lone Tree, Colo.) was the next finisher for Drake. He clocked in at 25:54 for 56th place. Junior Guy Eckman (Iowa City, Iowa) was not far behind in 62nd place in 25:58.

Junior Ryan Flynn (Bettendorf, Iowa), 26:15, and junior Ian Harkreader (Arvada, Colorado), 26:35, rounded out the scoring finishing 76th and 82nd, respectively.

The freshmen pair of Tony Meyer (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Jim Saxton (La Crosse, Wis.) also both posted times under 28 minutes. Meyer in 26:35 and Saxton in 27:59.

"The race showed our fitness is headed in the right direction and I don't think anyone has peaked yet, so our best performances should come at the MVC Championships," Rodriguez said. "Although Southern Illinois was far ahead, we're really confident about the work we've put in and expect to compete strongly for the MVC title, even if we're behind right now."

The Bulldogs finished with 312 points for 13th place. Missouri Valley rival Southern Illinois won the meet with 54 points. Jim Riddle, who ran unattached from the University of Illinois, won the individual competition in a time of 24:11.

Drake Results
6 Kilometers
Newman Golf Course, Peoria, Ill.

36. Mike Rodriguez, 25:29
56. Tyler Nelson, 25:54
62. Guy Eckman, 25:58
76. Ryan Flynn, 26:15
82. Ian Harkreader, 26:22
93. Tony Meyer, 26:35
117. Jim Saxton, 27:59

Team Results
1. Southern Illinois, 54
2. Unattached- Illinois, 58
3. Marquette, 104
4. Nothern Iowa, 153
5. Eastern Illinois, 172
6. Western Illinois, 184
7. DePaul, 216
8. Bradley, 217
9. UIC, 225
10. SLU, 235
11. Western Michigan, 277
12. Illinois State, 296
13. Drake, 312
14. Oakland, 321
15. Bowling Green, 409
16. Creighton, 410
17. IPFW, 529
18. Wisconsin-Green Bay, 591

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