Men finish second, women sixth at MVC Cross Country Championship

    Dan Dunbar

    Dan Dunbar

    Oct. 30, 2010

    Men's Race Results | Women's Race Results | Men's Team Results | Women's Team Results

    By Michael Benson

    AUGUSTA, Kan. - Senior Dan Dunbar captured the men's individual title Saturday at the MVC Cross Country Championship in Augusta, Kan., while Emily Toennies and Megan Hoelscher both earned top five finishes.

    As a team, the men finished second for the second consecutive season and the women came in sixth place.

    "Dan Dunbar ran a great race," said head coach Matt Sparks. "That was the big bright spot. Second place is never disappointing, especially since our four freshmen finished in the top 20."

    Dunbar, who earned the top 8K time in the conference during the regular season, held on to that distinction at the RAFT Golf Course by finishing with a time of 24:29.38 - nearly 16 seconds ahead of second place Michael Disher of Indiana State.

    However, the next closest Salukis in the field were Neal Anderson and Zach Dahleen, who came in 13th and 14th with times of 25:23.71 and 25:24.12, respectively. Meanwhile, T.J. Heffernan, Kyle Kirchner, Brian Dixon, and Lucas Cherry came in 16th through 19th place.

    On the women's side, both Toennies and Hoelscher earned all-conference honors with their fourth and fifth place finishes. Toennies crossed the finish line with a time of 17:41.41, while Hoelscher followed closely with a time of 17:42.52.



    "It was exciting to see the two senior girls to go out with such a good finish," Sparks said. "It gave us a positive feeling going into next year."

    Both seniors were the first Saluki women's runners to earn all-MVC honors since 2007, when A'Seret Dokubo finished ninth in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In addition, Toennies' fourth place finish was the highest by a Saluki at the MVC meet since 2005, when Sarah Rinker finished third in Evansville, Ind.

    One other Southern Illinois runner - junior Jamie Pfister - earned a top 20 finish after coming in 18th with a time of 18:23.53.

    The cross country squads will return to post-season competition in two weeks when they travel to Peoria, Ill., for the 2010 NCAA Midwest Regional Championship.