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Men's Cross Country - Thu, Sep. 7, 2017

Using last year as a measuring stick, the Fighting Bee men's cross country team has a lot to be excited about.

Returning the majority of their varsity team from a year ago, the Bees opened up the season at the WIU Early Bird and ran two minutes faster than the same meet last year.

The Bees finished with 51 points, behind winners Augustana (36) but ahead of Western Illinois (64) and Webster (74).

Skylar Mitchell was the Bees top finisher as he set a personal best with a runner-up finishing time of 19:34 which is the school record in the rarely run race. Newcomer Josh Pestka and track All-American Rane Nichols both finished in the top 10 as Pestka finished 7th in 19:56 while Nicols was 9th in 20:03.

David Whittle and Sam Long rounded out the Bees scoring as those two destroyed their times from last year on the same course. Whittle finished 15th in 20:23, more than 40 seconds better than in 2016, while Long was 18th in 20:42, more than a minute faster from the time he ran as a freshman.

Anthony Peters was the Bees No. 6 runner, finishing in 21st with a time of 21:01 and Clay Colborn made his first varsity appearance, running as the No. 7 and finishing 34th in 21:47, a personal best by more than 30 seconds.

Leo Kesseler also had a personal best by a few seconds, while sophomore Jack Haugen had the biggest improvement, finished 1:18 faster than he did last year.

"This was a great confidence booster for our men," SAU head coach Dan Zeimet said. "These guys have big goals this year and today was a showcase of the work they've done in the summer to get to this point. Hopefully it's a good first step."

Next up for the Bees is the Luther College All-American Invite on September 9 in Decorah, Iowa.

WIU Early Bird results

Team results: 1, Augustana (99:27), 36; 2, St. Ambrose (100:41), 51; 3, Western Illinois (104:06), 70; 4, Webster (103:02), 72.

SAU results
2, Skylar Mitchell - 19:34
7, Josh Pestka - 19:56
9, Rane Nichols - 20:03
15, David Whittle - 20:23
18, Sam Long - 20:42
21, Anthony Peters - 21:01
34, Clay Colborn - 21:47
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38, Kyle Campagna - 21:52
41, Jon Sabotta - 22:14
43, Leo Kesseler - 22:29
44, Isaac Delarosa - 22:35
45, Danny Parr - 22:35
48, Reid Henry - 23:00
51, Ethan Lacey - 23:18
56, Jack Haugen - 25:11
57, Brian Santino - 25:32