Merchant Leads Men's XC to Eighth at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge

GRADN RAPIDS, Mich. -- Stephen Merchant ran the Saints' fastest time of the season to help Siena Heights men's cross country to an eighth place finish in the 25-team field at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge, on Saturday.

Merchant crossed the finish line of the 8k course in 25:54.70 for 21st place. For first place, Ryan Smith from Goshen finished in 25:03.13.

Finishing in 26:11.46 was Esrom Woldemichael and in 26:21.99 was Kyler Vanwormer for 33rd and 43rd place, respectively, for Siena Heights.

The final two Saints' finishers were Anthony Vermilye and Timothy Young. Vermilye ran the course in 26:23.90 while Young finished in 26:41.87.

As a team, Siena Heights compiled a time of 2:11:33.92, beating their previous best by over three minutes. The SHU five-runner average also dropped to 26:18.78 per runner. NAIA No. 5 Marian (Ind.) won with a compiled time of 2:08:55.83 for a five-runner average of 25:47.17.

Siena Heights will be back in action when they travel to Grand Rapids, Mich. for the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Championships, set for Saturday, Nov. 5.