Cross country: Grad leads pack

SLU’s cross country team rounded out their regular season competition this past weekend at the 2015 Atlantic 10 Conference Cross Country Championships in Mechanicsville, Va.  The young roster gave SLU good looks at what they will be working with this post season, as well as what’s the future may hold.

The women finished sixth overall, with an outstanding 5K performance from graduate Isabel Leibfried.  She finished fifth, with a time of 17:26.2.  Three promising freshmen finishers followed her: Elise Marker, Courtney Pfansteil and Anna Schmitz.

Head coach Jon Bell commented on Leibfried’s success.  “Isabel had a tremendous meet, and I am proud of all the accomplishments she has achieved while at Saint Louis.”

The men faced some tougher competition and placed eighth overall.  Junior Neal Fitzpatrick led the pack, with a five-mile time of 25:11.1 that earned him a 23rd place finish.

Freshmen also played an important role in the team’s finish, similar to the women’s squad. Freshman Manuel De Backer was tight on Fitzpatrick’s heels, with a time of 25:14.6 that landed him in 25th place.  Freshman Matt Prest ended in 35th, with a time of 25:22.5.

The results that the freshmen of both teams earned provide this team with great promise, looking forward.  “I am very encouraged by some of our freshman runners,” Bell said.  “We return all but Isabel, so both our women and men have bright futures.”

The Billikens are looking ahead to post-season competition as they travel to Lawrence, Kan., on Nov. 13, to compete in the NCAA Regionals.  Both groups are ready to take on the meet, with full force.  “We are going to regroup and get ready for the NCAA Regional Championship,” Bell said.