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September 17, 2010

2010 Season - Huge statement with fourth at Intercollegiates

Billy Wisser finished 17th and was the top Augustana finisher as the Vikings placed fourth in the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships on Friday, September 17th in Normal, Illinois.

It will be hard for the Augustana men’s cross country team to stay under the radar now after the results of the Illinois Intercollegiate Championship begin to circulate around the nation. The Vikings, who up until now have been ignored in the NCAA Division III polls by the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), made a huge statement on Friday, September 17 at the Illinois State University Golf Course in Normal, Illinois. They finished fourth in a field of 32 teams at the annual Illinois Intercollegiate Championships, scoring 151 points in the process.

The University of Illinois won the event with 25 points while North Central, the defending NCAA Division III national champion and the second ranked team in the country, was second with 51. Illinois-Chicago placed third with 132 and Augustana was fourth at 151. Illinois State, the host institution, took fifth with 175 points. The rest of the top 10 looked like this: Olivet Nazarene (193), St. Francis (209), Chicago (214), Bradley (239) and Eastern Illinois (251).

Junior Billy Wisser (Hersey HS, Mt. Prospect, Ill.) was the top Viking across the finish line, taking 20th place with a time of 25:40 over the five mile course. He was chased into the chute by Matt Bowman (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.), who was 26th with a time of 25:49. The individual winner in the race was Michael Spain of North Central with a time of 24:23.

Sophomore Jonathan Smith (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.) placed 40th in 26:08 while sophomore Brian Pollastrini (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) was 45th in 26:14. The fifth man for Augustana was sophomore Nathan Smith (Fenton HS, Bensenville, Ill.) with a time of 26:21 in 51st place. Junior Thomas Christian (Port Angeles HS, Port Angeles, Wash.) finished 59th in 26:27 and junior Mike Tisza (Hersey HS, Prospect Heights, Ill.) was 65th in 26:33.

Although not figuring in the scoring, the Vikings did have five other runners compete in the varsity race. Junior Brandon Gittelman (Naperville Central HS, Naperville, Ill.) was the eighth man, finishing 98th with a time of 27:02. Sophomore Tommy Harris (Davenport Assumption HS, Davenport, Iowa) placed 106th in 27:08 and freshman Tyler Busch (Winnebago HS, Winnebago, Ill.) was 119th in 27:21. Freshman Isaac Trostle (Willowbrook HS, Lombard, Ill.) finished 121st in 27:23 and freshman Garrett Gingras (Glenbard North HS, Bloomingdale, Ill.) took 133rd in 27:41.

Prior to the meet the USTCCCA released its first regional and national ranking of the season and veteran head coach Paul Olsen’s team did not generate much support. The Vikings were ninth in the Midwest Region and were not even among the teams “receiving votes” on the national level. North Central was second in both the regional and national rankings and the University of Chicago was eighth in the region and 34th in the nation. Augustana crushed the Maroons on Friday night as Chicago placed eighth with 214 points. Also among the Viking victims at the Illinois Intercollegiate meet were NCAA Division I schools Illinois State (fifth with 175), Bradley (ninth with 239) and Eastern Illinois (10th with 251).

The Illinois Intercollegiate Championship also separated the college division from the university division and Augustana was second behind North Central in those team standings. The Cardinals scored 15 points to win the title while the Vikings had 75 points in second place. Olivet Nazarene was third with 104, St. Francis was fourth with 118 and Chicago took fifth with 119. When the university competitors were pulled out, Wisser was sixth in the individual results.

There was an open race prior to the varsity competition and three Augustana runners were in the top 20. Freshman Matt Cwiok (Mt. Prospect, Ill.) was the top finisher for the Blue & Gold. He was 16th with a time of 28:04 while freshman Alex Stockwell (Glenbard West HS, Glen Ellyn, Ill.) took 17th in 28:05. Freshman Mitch Dietrich (Quincy Notre Dame HS, Quincy, Ill.) was 19th in 28:08.

Augustana will host the Brissman/Lundeen Invitational on Friday, September 24 at Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island, Illinois. The race is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m.