SOU harriers finish fourth at nationals

KENOSHA, Wisc. — Led by a pair of All-Americans, the Southern Oregon men's cross country team finished fourth at Saturday's NAIA National Championships.

The Raiders wrapped up the program's best-ever national finish with 197 points. Malone won the team event with 61 points, followed by Azusa Pacific (118), Aquinas (194) and Southern Oregon.

Azusa Pacific senior Aron Rono won the men's individual title in a time of 23 minutes, 45.8 seconds.

Southern Oregon entered the national championships ranked fourth in the nation, the highest ranking ever by an SOU cross country team.

"I can't be any more happy than I am right now," SOU head coach Brent Ericksen said. "This has been a special ride with these guys. They've come a long way. I'm so proud."

Seniors Anthony Monteleone and Cameron Kreuz both claimed All-American honors for the Raiders.

Monteleone finished 16th in a time of 25:04 and Kreuz finished 21st in 25:08.

"That's the first time Anthony has been our No. 1 runner," Ericksen said. "He ran a heck of a race. He knew it was his last race and he ran an awesome race. He was really aggressive and really wanted it badly. Cameron ran a really good race as well. It was a challenging course and getting two All-Americans set us up to get a trophy."

Joe Rath just missed out on All-American honors, finishing 33rd in a time of 25:34.

SOU's other team points came from David Laney (47th, 25:42) and Ryan Gelfi (80th, 26:07).

"I think we handled the conditions pretty well," Ericksen said. "It was 35 degrees when the race started, which is warmer than it was all day Friday."

Chris Patterson (152nd, 27:17) and Ryan Matz (157th, 27:24) wrapped up SOU's effort.

Azusa Pacific won the women's NAIA National Championship.

TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Malone 61, Azusa Pacific 118, Aquinas 194, Southern Oregon 197, Indiana Tech 245, Concordia (Neb.) 249, Embry-Riddle 263, Black Hills State 281, Concordia 288, Huntington 308.

SOU INDIVIDUAL RESULTS — 16, Anthony Monteleone, 25:04; 21, Cameron Kreuz, 25:08; 33, Joe Rath, 25:34; 47, David Laney, 25:42; 80, Ryan Gelfi, 26:07; 152, Chris Patterson, 27:17; 157, Ryan Matz, 27:24.

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