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Men's Cross Country - Sat, Nov. 5, 2016

The Fighting Bee men's cross country team put together their best team race of the season and improved greatly on their pre-meet rankings.

For the second year in a row, the Bees finished fifth in the conference, although heading into the meet SAU was ranked to finished anywhere from sixth to eighth.

Leading the way for SAU was junior Skylar Mitchell who finished 20th in 27:01, finishing one place shy of qualifying for the national championships. The time was a personal best for Mitchell.

Mitchell was followed up by a swarm of Bees including race walk national champion Anthony Peters (36th, 27:58), senior Grant Colborn (39th, 28:06), newcomer David Whittle (49th, 28:37), sophomore AJ Engelsen (58th, 28:55), senior Jonah Niedermeier (64th, 29:20) and junior Reid Henry (77th, 30:09).

Freshmen Clay Colborn, Leo Kesseler and Alberto Vargas all ran personal bests on the day as well.

The St. Francis men, ranked second in the NAIA, won the team title for the third year in a row, while Olivet Nazarene, ranked 11th in the NAIA, finished runners-up. Teams then log-jammed from third to sixth with just 21 points separating four schools. The Bees very nearly finished fourth, coming up just three points behind Judson in the 14-team race.

"There's a lot to be proud of from this group," SAU head coach Dan Zeimet said. "We've had to overcome a lot this year and these guys really stepped it up today. This is a good building block for the future."

The CCAC also announced three Bees were named to the all-academic team: Grant Colborn, A.J. Engelsen and Reid Henry.

The Bees only graduate one of their top five finishers from the conference meet and should have a strong nucleus ready to contend for another high finish in 2017.