The Trine University men's cross country team finished in second place at the 2019 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Championships hosted on Trine's campus in Angola, Ind.
The Thunder finished with a team score of 51 points to finish as runners up, their highest finish ever in MIAA Championship competition. Calvin (Mich.) College took the team title with 15 points and Albion (Mich.) College was third with 113 points.
"The men ran a solid team race today," said Head Coach Zach Raber. "It's our highest finish ever in the MIAA and we had five guys all-conference, so we can't be too upset with that. But, I thought we'd score a little better up front."
The top five runners for Trine all finished in the top-15, including seventh through ninth place with senior Villis Vuskalns (Indianapolis, Ind./Beech Grove) taking seventh to finish with the top overall time of the afternoon for the Thunder of 26:37.1. Juniors Jack Beakas (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb) and Neil O'Brien (Whiteland, Ind./Roncalli) placed eighth and ninth after running times of 26:50.8 and 27:02.9, respectively.
Junior Derek Miller (Shipshewana, Ind./Westview) had the fourth quickest time for Trine, and 12th fastest overall, after completing the 8k course with a mark of 27:02.9. Fellow junior Levi Neuzerling (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) was next to cross the finish line after posting a time of 27:16.5 which was good enough for 15th place.
Rounding out the top seven times for Trine was the junior duo of Harrison Korkos (Rochester, Ind./Rochester) and Alex Amaro (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) who also placed in the top-20 in 19th and 20th places. Korkos ran a time of 27:41.0 and Amaro finished just over four-and-a-half seconds back at 27:45.6.
"Jack Beakas and Derek Miller have been our #1 and #2 all season and they just had off days today," added Raber. "Vilis Vuskalns ran really well and Neil O'Brien did a great job of mixing it up early with some of the top guys in the conference. For us to finish second overall in the MIAA after having a bit of an off day is pretty good. We have two weeks until the regional championship so we'll go back to the drawing board and get some good work in before we race again. We have the talent to make a run to qualify for nationals but we need to step it up a bit to get that done.
After the race, two Trine runners earned first-team All-MIAA honors in Vuskalns and Beakas. Miller, Neuzerling and O'Brien also earned All-Conference honors as second-team selections.
Trine will travel to Grand Rapids, Mich. to compete in the annual NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Meet hosted by Calvin on Saturday, Nov. 16. The men's race is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m.
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