Any team that becomes good enough to win three championships in a row deserves to be called a dynasty. The Greenville University Men’s Cross-Country team deserves this title for winning the SLIAC Conference three years in a row! This year’s athletes produced a dominating performance in the 2018 SLIAC Conference Championships scoring a total of 24 points. This is more than half the score of second place team, Webster University, who had 57 points. Not only is this the third team in a row to earn this title, but also the fifteenth conference championship Greenville University men’s cross has earned. This performance proves the greatness in GU’s distance program.
Leading the charge for the men’s team was junior Dylan Goodyear, winning the overall individual title, while also winning the Men’s Runner of the Year award for the SLIAC Conference. The time Goodyear ran was also a season-best, running a time of 25:55.54. Goodyear stated, “The race felt pretty good. I can’t complain about much other than I wish it was a little colder. But, right now I feel good going into regionals. It should be a competitive race with an opportunity to get a PR.” But Goodyear wasn’t able to win the championship by himself. He could not have done it without the support from his fellow teammates, including senior John Mangold. Mangold finished in third, running a time a 27:00.70 which was a decent time for Mangold after struggling in the second half of the race. Finishing in fifth place was sophomore Collin Kessinger, running a time of 27:20.15. Kessinger stated, “I feel blessed to have earned all-conference honors and be a part of such a competitive and fun team.” Finishing in sixth just behind Kessinger was junior Dylon Niswonger with a time of 27:21.48. The final runner to score points for Greenville was freshman Garrett Johnson, finishing in ninth place with a time of 27:23.89. Freshman Lukas Baird, who finished in twelfth place, made second-team all-conference with a time of 27:42.54.
These times earned the men honorable awards. First-Team All-Conference included Goodyear, Mangold, Kessinger, and Niswonger. Johnson and Baird earned Second-Team All-Conference honors. Coach Brian Patton received his eleventh Coach of the Year award. What a great honor is given to such a great coach! But wait, the accomplishments do not stop there. Niswonger’s entrance onto the All-Sportsmanship team is the icing on the cake.
Under the great leadership from Coach Patton, the men’s cross country team is looking strong going into the NCAA Division III Regional on November 10th. When it comes to the end goal of the season, Kessinger thinks, “The team had a very successful weekend in Litchfield at the conference meet. We were able to claim the conference title by placing 4 in the top 7 and 6 in the top 14. Our depth as a team is what allowed us to win the meet. But as we look forward to regionals, everyone is hoping for good weather up in Wisconsin that will allow us to run fast. This will be the biggest and most competitive meet of the year. I’m very proud of this program and I’m excited about new opportunities as the year progresses.” In addition, Goodyear stated, “I think our team is going to do great things in Wisconsin and the only thing we can ask for is good weather and that no one gets sick or injured.” It sounds like the weather has a lot to do with performance in this meet, considering they will be running in central Wisconson in the middle of November.
If you want to cheer on the men’s cross country team one last time this season, the team is having an exhibition race called the Panther Trials this Friday the second of November here in Greenville. Keep up the good work, men’s cross-country!