A seasonal fall day yielded wonderful results on Saturday, but just shy of the Wildcats' goal.
A single point separated the Saint Ignatius varsity cross country team from first place at the Malone Invitational. The Louisville Leopards eked out the victory with 79 points, with the Wildcats following with 80 points. Last week, the Cross Country Cats trailed Louisville by 13 points, so this was a sign of good things for the Wildcats.
Still, a second-place showing at this time of year is nothing to sniff at. The Wildcats have a promising squad and are showing off some nice results as the weather turns from the heat of the early season to the cool of the stretch run.
Sean Uhran took leadership at the head of the Cat Pack on Saturday. The junior showcased impressive will and speed with a time of 16:23, improving by a second from last week's effort. Uhran's efforts placed him fourth in a crowded field of competitors.
Aidan Monroe also cracked the Top 10 with a nice race. The senior tallied a time of 16:56, granting him ninth place for the Wildcats. Monroe's efforts helped tremendously.
The Wildcats' five other runners stuck together nicely, leading to an overall good result for the men of Ohio City.
Connor McAndrew guided the quintet. The senior clocked in at 17:19, an improvement from last week's effort to earn 23rd. The veteran is heating up at the right time for the Cats.
Alex Paliga served as the number four man, enjoying a vast improvement from last week's time. Paliga timed in at 17:25, a resounding 20 seconds better than last week. That's one heck of an improvement in just one week.
Speaking of impressive, Connor Geary nearly slid by Paliga in the final stretch. The senior also crossed the line at 17:25, but just behind Paliga for 24th. Geary is becoming a steady, reliable runner for the Wildcats in the middle of the pack, upping the team's average.
Joseph Maloney and Peter Fitzpatrick served in the rear echelon on Saturday. The savvy veterans notched 28th and 30th places in Canton, clocking in at 17:31 and 17:40, respectively.
As a team, the Wildcats certainly have plenty to be proud of, with several runners cutting time, a good indicator of the hard work the team is putting in before and after practice.
The men of Dr. Mike Gallagher '71 return to the course next Saturday, as they'll participate in the Woodridge Invite at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. That should make for some very scenic pictures with the leaves falling and the Wildcats leaping to new heights.