UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Crimson and Gray put three Hawks in the top 20 en route to a third-place team finish in a competitive field of nine programs at the 2018 Penn State Spiked Shoe Invitational, held at PSU's Blue-White Golf Course on Friday evening. The performance made an undoubtable statement as the Saint Joseph's men's cross country squad recorded an average 8.4k time of 26:37 and a 30-second spread for 89 points on the evening.
Ranked 11th in the USTFCCCA NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Preseason Poll, the Hawks soared by regional opposition in top-ranked Princeton, third-ranked Georgetown, fourth-ranked Navy, and 10th-ranked Pittsburgh and held off 12th-ranked American by 90 points. Saint Joseph's finished behind Syracuse, ranked 10th in the nation, and Penn State, ranked fifth in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
"We did exactly what we wanted to in terms of our race," beamed head coach Mike Glavin following the performance. "These races tend to be controlled over the first two miles. We needed to be confident enough that when the race moved, we moved with it. That was the plan. It wasn't going after any particular team; we wanted to see what we could do as a team, in this race, over this course, independent of what other folks were doing... It was about finishing the race. This was a strong early-season race for us."
Junior Zach Michon led the Hawks with an eighth-place individual finish in a field of 92 runners. Paced by a 5:04 mile average, Michon crossed in 26:20, edging out Syracuse's #6 finisher Dominic Hockenbury and Penn State's #2 finisher Owen Wing for the eighth spot in his first collegiate Spiked Shoe race.
Junior John Walker followed up with an 11th-place showing, clocking in at 26:24. The time was an improvement on Walker's freshman-year time at Spiked Shoe (28:13.8) by a minute and 49 seconds.
Graduate student Collin Crilly (26:40), sophomore Bobby Hastie (26:48), and senior Will Sponaugle (26:50) went 20th, 24th, and 26th, respectively, while senior Shawn Hutchison (27:01) and sophomore Matthew Scarpill (27:06) finished as SJU's #6 (29th) and #7 (32nd) runners.