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September 8, 2012

Gonzalez Shines as Men's Cross Country Finishes Sixth at W&L

Written by Chris Pendleton

LEXINGTON, Va.—Led by Patrick Gonzalez's fourth-place finish, the Southern Virginia University men's cross country placed sixth out of eight team at the annual Washington and Lee Invitational on Saturday morning.

"Patrick was outstanding today," said second-year Head Coach Logan Davis. "He's been very strong thus far this season and if he continues to improve, we think he can have a tremendous year for us."

Gonzalez (Riverside, Calif.) was one of only four runners at Washington and Lee on Saturday to post an 8K time under 30 minutes finishing at 29:43, only three seconds behind Roanoke College's Toney Harrison. The sophomore shaved more than a half-minute off his 8K time at last Friday's ODAC Preview, despite the fact that Washington and Lee's course is considered to be more difficult with its multiple steep climbs.

After recently returning from a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Argentina, Gonzalez has been Southern Virginia's top finisher in both of his races this season.

Freshman Benjamin Houldridge (North Bend, Wash.) was Southern Virginia's second-best finisher for the second straight week coming in 35th overall at 33:31.

Dan Fotheringham (Salk Lake City, Utah) and Spencer Long (Plano, Texas) both made considerable improvements in their second career races on Saturday cutting nearly two and six minutes respectively off their 8K times.

Seniors Casey Mundell (Dededo, GU) and Tyson Babbel  (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) also competed at Washington and Lee finishing 63rd and 65th, while both suffering from minor injuries.

"We saw some really encouraging signs today," said Davis. "Three of our runners improved dramatically from a week ago despite running on a slower course. If we continue to work hard and get better we'll be very competitive by the end of the season."

St Mary's College of Maryland from the Capital Athletic Conference edged out Roanoke College by a single point (44, 45) to claim Saturday's first-place trophy.

Men's cross country is back in action next Saturday at the James Madison Invitational (8K) in Harrisonburg, Va.