USI Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Both Win GLVC Title

USI Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Both Win GLVC Title

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - University of Southern Indiana Men’s Cross Country collected its league-record 15th consecutive Great Lakes Valley Conference title Saturday at Angel Mounds as the No. 8 Screaming Eagles finished first out of 14 teams at the GLVC Championships.

The score was a lot closer than expected as the University of Illinois Springfield, coached by former USI National Champion Tyler Pence, pushed the Eagles to their limit. A first-place finish by sophomore All-American Titus Winders, however, helped propel USI to its league-record 27th conference championship.

Winders finished the rain-soaked eight-kilometer race in 25 minutes, 4.95 seconds, nearly 20-seconds faster than the time posted by second-place finisher Wyatt McIntyre of Illinois Springfield; and was named the GLVC Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Year for his effort.

Additionally, Winders’ first-place finish marked the third straight year and eighth time in the last nine seasons that the Eagles’ have had the top finisher at the GLVC Championships. Winders, the 2018 GLVC Freshman of the Year as well as the 2018 Midwest Region Runner of the Year, is the ninth different USI men’s runner to capture a GLVC Cross Country title, while USI men’s runners have won a total of 17 conference titles.

Senior Austin Nolan, who had won the previous two GLVC championships, ran step-for-step with Winders throughout the first six kilometers before finishing fifth with a time of 25:29.60, while fellow classmate Nathan Hall was eighth with a time of 25:37.38. Junior Gavin Prior was USI’s No. 4 with a 14th-place finish.

Through the first four finishers, however, the Eagles found themselves clinging to a two-point lead over Illinois Springfield, which finished six points behind USI’s win score of 47. USI’s decisive blow came at No. 5, where junior Wyat Harmon finished 19th and four spots in front of the Prairie Stars’ No. 5 competitor.

Junior Grady Wilkinson and senior Javan Winders rounded out the Eagles’ top seven finishers with respective finishes of 29th and 34th.

In addition to Titus Winders, the Eagles’ All-GLVC honorees included Nolan, Hall and Prior. Head Coach Mike Hillyard was named the GLVC Coach of the Year for the 28th time in his career—he was the GLVC Women’s Coach of the Year as well.

The University of Indianapolis was third, while Missouri S&T and league-newcomer Southwest Baptist University were fourth and fifth, respectively, to round out the top-five teams.

USI returns to action November 9 when it hosts the NCAA II Midwest Region Championships at Angel Mounds. The women’s 6k is slated for a 10:30 a.m. start time, while the men’s 10k is scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m.

University of Southern Indiana Women’s Cross Country returned to the top of the of the Great Lakes Valley Conference mountain Saturday morning at Angel Mounds as the No. 22 Screaming Eagles edged No. 11 Southwest Baptist University to capture their 10th conference title in the last 12 years and league-record 13th overall.

The Eagles got a huge boost from their No. 4-7 runners as they finished the GLVC Championships with 48 points, eight in front of the Bearcats, to earn their first title since 2017.

Southwest Baptist jumped out to a big lead as a pair of Bearcats—individual winner and GLVC Runner of the Year Elysia Burgos as well as GLVC Freshman of the Year Tesa Valdivia—finished in front of USI’s top finisher.

Junior Jennifer Comastri was the first to cross the finish line for the Eagles as the Indianapolis native was fifth with a six-kilometer time of 21 minutes, 51.45. Senior Hope Jones was sixth with a time of 21:55.75, but the Bearcats’ No. 3 runner, Tabitha Weber, finished seventh, two spots ahead of USI’s No. 3, freshman Presley Warren.

Down by eight points with three runners across the finish line, the Eagles’ scored a three-point win at No. 4 as junior Dorian Langlois posted a 13th-place finish. Freshman Mckenna Cavanaugh, USI’s No. 5 finisher, out-kicked Southwest Baptist’s No. 4 finisher for 15th. The gap between Cavanaugh and Southwest Baptist’s No. 5 proved significant as the Eagles also placed their No. 6 and No. 7 finishers in front of the Bearcats’ No. 5, who was 28th overall.

Rounding out USI’s top seven runners was freshman Aubrey Swart, who was 21st in the 143-competitor field, and sophomore Emma Brown who finished 25th.

Comastri, Jones, Warren, Langlois and Cavanaugh all were named All-GLVC due to their top-15 finishes, while Head Coach Mike Hillyard earned GLVC Coach of the Year honors for the 27th time in his career—Hillyard collected his 28th GLVC Coach of the Year honor following the men’s race.

The University of Indianapolis, last year’s GLVC champion, finished third in the 14-team field, while Rockhurst University and Missouri S&T respectively rounded out the top five teams.

USI returns to action November 9 when it hosts the NCAA II Midwest Region Championships at Angel Mounds. The women’s 6k is slated for a 10:30 a.m. start time, while the men’s 10k is scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m.

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