Junior Brian Dixon was named USTFCCCA All-Region for his 19th place finish and has a chance to qualify for nationals.
Nov. 9, 2012
By Tyler Wooten
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Southern Illinois men's and women's cross country programs concluded their seasons Friday at the NCAA Midwest Regional with two top-15 team finishes.
The women's 6K started the day, and the Saluki women ended up in 12th place, which is their best team finish at the Midwest Regional since finishing 10th in 2006. Sophomore Lacey Gibson paced Southern with a 32nd-place finish out of 211 runners, clocking a 6K time of 21:38.29. Eight seconds separated Gibson from claiming All-Region.
"Lacey really bounced back to finish 32nd, and put her back in a position to where we'd like to see her," said head coach Matt Sparks. "The women turned a few heads as well this year, after being ranked 14th in the region and finishing 12th."
The Saluki men finished ninth, extending their streak of top-10 regional team finishes to six years. Leading the pack for the Saluki men was junior Brian Dixon, who finished 19th out of 190 runners in the 10K race with a time of 30:47.59.
That 19th place finish earned him the honor of USTFCCCA All-Region, which honors the top 25 finishers at each regional event. It also puts him in the running for an individual at-large berth at the NCAA Nationals in Louisville, Ky., next week, depending on the team at-large bids that will be announced on Saturday.
Sophomore Nick Schrader also posted a top-50 finish with a 32nd-place mark at 31:09.27. All seven Saluki men finished within the top 103 runners in the race.
"The main focal point of our season was to win conference," Sparks said. "We spent the last two weeks talking about taking our program to the next level, which isn't only a qualifier, but getting ready to qualify our whole team in 2013 to get some recognition on a national level."
"It gave us a lot of confidence to see (Dixon) run this well, and with him and Zach (Dahleen) and Nick (Schrader) all coming back, that will give us a leg up not only in the MVC but on a national stage as well."