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September 4, 2009

2009 Season - Bailey, team score wins at WIU Invitational

The Augustana men's cross country team showed its strength at the Western Illinois Invitational on Friday, September 4 in Macomb, Illinois. Competing against a six team field that had a pair of NCAA Division I institutions (Western Illinois and Bradley), veteran head coach Paul Olsen’s team won the team title with 24 points. Western Illinois was second with 42 while Bradley took third with 64. Illinois Central (132), Lincoln (146) and Knox (168) rounded out the scoring.

Senior captain Dan Bailey (Deerfield HS, Deerfield, Illinois) put on quite a show as he led the 11th ranked Vikings to victory by winning the individual 8000 meter race with a time of 25:48. He won by five seconds of Eric Anerino of Western Illinois, who was clocked in 25:53.
 
The Vikings had five runners in the top ten and seven runners in the top 12 as they showed tremendous team balance. Following Bailey was sophomore, Billy Wisser (Hersey HS, Mount Prospect, Illinois) who finished third overall in 25:59. Augie's third finisher was sophomore Mike Tisza (Hersey HS, Mount Prospect, Illinois), who struggled with injuries last year but has proven a healthy recovery with a time of 26:06. That was good for fifth place.

After Tisza was junior Matt Bowman (Geneva HS, Elburn, Illinois) finishing in sixth place and a clocking of 26:12. Senior captain Brian Hart (University City HS, St. Louis, Illinois) ran a great race and finished ninth overall in 26:19. Augustana's sixth and seventh runners were both freshmen as Nathan Smith (Fenton HS, Bensenville, Illinois) took 11th in 26:28 and Jonathan Smith (Moline HS, Moline, Illinois) was 12th in 26:34.

This meet was a great team accomplishment, but especially for the freshmen to compete so well in a five mile race on a course that was on a gradual incline.
 
The Vikings have started off the season successfully and anticipate great things to come once top runners Chris Zook (Normal Community HS, Normal, Illinois) and Sean Carmody (Winnebago HS, Winnebago, Illinois) are healthy. Like the back of their shirts say, "A Celebration of Life" and there was much to celebrate on Friday night in Macomb and more to look forward to in future races.

Written by Robbin Cooley, student assistant SID