Led by fifth-year senior Nate Nunnelly (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.), the Valparaiso University men's cross country team finished in fourth place at the Mid-Continent Conference Cross Country Championships held in Tulsa, Okla. on Saturday morning.
The Crusaders totaled 127 points for the meet, two ahead of IUPUI to earn the fourth slot. Southern Utah won the title with 21 points, followed by Oakland with 40 points and Western Illinois with 105 points. UMKC was sixth with 159 points, followed by Chicago State (177), Oral Roberts (215), and Centenary (272).
Nunnelly came across the finish line in 17th place overall with a time of 26:18.32, his best effort this season over an eight-kilometer course. Another fifth-year senior, Rick Wenger (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere H.S.), finished two places behind Nunnelly in a time of 26:21.16, his season's best as well.
Freshman Christopher Orosz (Holland, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit H.S.) finished third for the Brown and Gold, and 21st overall, in a time of 26:33.62. Senior Matt Blume (Logansport, Ind./Pioneer H.S.) placed 32nd overall for the Crusaders with a time of 27:03.75, while junior Adam Piaskowy (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee H.S.) rounded out scorers for Valpo with a 41st place finish. Piaskowy turned in a time of 27:45.41.
Adriano Schultz (Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville-Broadview Heights H.S.), competing in just his second collegiate race, was sixth for the team, one spot behind Piaskowy in a time of 27:56.50.
The fourth place finish for the Crusaders is Valpo's highest finish in the Mid-Con since 2000, and ties for the best mark ever by the Brown and Gold. Valpo has finished fourth six times now.
The Crusaders will return to the trails on November 15 for the Great Lakes Regional Championship, to be held in Terre Haute, Ind. The men's race will begin at 10 a.m. CST.