LITCHFIELD, Ill. - The men's cross country team was a handful on Saturday at the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship, claiming its fifth straight title. The Panthers finished with 19 points thanks to five Panthers crossing the finish line among the first seven runners.
It was Gianni Estrada's day to shine. Racing on a boggy field Estrada carved up the 5k course in a time of 16:35.24, besting the next closest runner by nearly 26-seconds. Estrada, a freshman, jumped out to the lead early and never looked back, holding a 20-yard lead for the majority of the day. He became the first SLIAC runner to sweep Runner of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards since Principia's Drew Clark accomplished the feat in 2009.
Jeremiah Perry, another freshman, placed 3rd, crossing in 17:22.29. The future appears bright for the Panthers as a third freshman crossed next, when Joe Gomez finished 5th with a time of 17:35.86. Lukas Baird and Collin Kessinger were just seconds behind, giving the Panthers five First Team All-Conference members.
Joshua Medlin placed 9th and Tony Lakotich and Isaiah Atkins were 13th and 14th respectively, to earn Second Team All-Conference honors.