MECHANICSVILLE, Va. – Led by the All-Conference performances of senior Aaron Leskow and junior Logan Mohn, the Saint Joseph's men's cross country team took home a second-place finish at the 2013 Atlantic 10 Championships on Saturday morning. Hosted by Richmond at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Va., the meet saw 117 runners from 13 A-10 institutions compete in the 8k race.
The Hawks totaled 75 points with a total time of 2:02:07.50 and averaged an individual time of 24:25.50. SJU finished just 48 points behind La Salle, who accumulated 27 points.
“The team did the only thing we felt we could do, and that was to go after La Salle, who was ranked well above us," said men's cross country head coach Mike Glavin. "We felt that if we ran as expected, we could cleanly get second. So the only question was whether to do that, or to risk it and go after the heavily-favored LaSalle team. We chose the risk, and gave back some ground once they got clear of us, but the Hawks were still able to keep the second-place position, despite yielding some ground to George Mason over the last two miles.”
In a true breakthrough season in which he has consistently led the Hawks to top finishes, Leskow checked in with a third-place individual finish in 23:56.40. After working his way to the front of the pack at the first 1600m mark, Leskow averaged a 4:40.40 for his first mile and continued to dominate throughout the entirety of the race. The time was just 1.39 seconds shy of a new 8k PR as the senior boasted one of his best 8k performances of the season.
No stranger to the All-Conference scene, Mohn improved upon his seventh-place finish from last season's A-10s to a top-five slot this year. The junior completed his first 1600m in 4:40.70 en route to an 8k time of 24:04.80, edging out Saint Louis' Tim Zellmer for fifth place.
"Logan and I have been running together for the past two years," said Leskow on the Wednesday leading up to the meet. "It's been the best thing for me. It's helped me a ton. I always have someone to be there with in training, because even on the days where you're not really feeling great, he's always going to be right there with you, so you can't give up."
For placing in the top 15, Leskow and Mohn were named the Atlantic 10 all-conference team. Together, the leading duo added just eight points to SJU's total score.
"Individually, Leskow and Mohn were 1-2 at about three miles, but the La Salle group was having none of that and came on to mix it up with them,” said Glavin of his top two finishers. “The top five was an All-Philly affair as LaSalle went 1-2-4 and SJU took 3-5."
In their final A-10 Championships, seniors Michael Rankin and Tom O'Kane led the way next for the Hawks as the pair crossed the finish line in 18th and 22nd, respectively. Rankin took 6.3 seconds off of his previous 8k PR with a time of 24:37.30 while O'Kane crossed the finish line in 24:42.70 to destroy his PR in the event by 23.3 seconds.
“Tommy O'Kane ran at the front until his body would give no more and then held on for fourth man in 22nd, as a fast-closing Mike Rankin got by him in the last 1000m to finish in 18th for the Hawks," said Glavin.
The Hawks top rookie runner in 2013, freshman John Mascioli rounded out SJU's top five with a 27th-place finish in his Atlantic 10 Championships debut. Clocking in at 24:46.30, an entire 25.7 seconds faster than his previous PR, Mascioli boasted the league's fastest performance by any first-year runner to claim Atlantic 10 Most Outstanding Rookie Performer honors.
“John Mascioli showed some real chutzpah in racing with the top guys for quite a while, and while he did give up some real estate late in the race, was able to finish as the top rookie in 27th," said Glavin of the Atlantic 10's Most Outstanding Rookie Performer.
Fellow freshman Jimmy Daniels followed suit, posting a 33rd-place finish in 24:53.80 in his first conference championship. A testimony to his outstanding rookie campaign, Daniels flew past his previous PR by 51.2 seconds to take home the third-fastest performance by any rookie at the meet.
Sophomore Quinn Davis rounded out the point-scorers for the Hawks as the sophomore clocked in with a new 8k PR of 25:01.30 for 40th.
“Quinn Davis continued to show remarkable gains from last year,” said Glavin of his sophomore. “He went from not making the A-10 travel roster last year to placing 40th in the meet today. Incredible.”
"All-in-all, the Harriers from the Hill on City Line Avenue raced well and did the University proud," beamed Glavin of the Hawks.
The Hawks will return to action on Friday, November 15 at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. Hosted by Bethlehem, Pa. at the Goodman Campus of Lehigh University, the 10k race is scheduled to begin at noon.