GREENVILLE, Ill. -- After a 2009 season that ended in a second place conference finish, the 2010 men's cross country squad, led by accomplished coach Brian Patton, is ready to make a run back to the top of the competition.
It has been two years since the Panthers stood atop the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. With the loss of last year's second place conference finisher, senior Rodney Oyler (Macon, Ill./Meridain), and some of the healthiest competition in years, 2010 looks to test a young but "championship" ready Panther team.
The Panthers will be lead by a host of 2009 SLIAC All-Conference winners, including senior Cole Prins (Erie, Ill./Erie), and juniors Coree Woltering (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa), Xavier Ortiz (Palos Hills, Ill./AA Stagg), and Leo Pathy (Palos Hills, Ill./AA Stagg). Adding to the depth up front for the Panthers, sophomore Alan Hollingsworth (Monticello, Ill./Monticello) will also look to help the 2010 campaign.
"Even with the healthy competition in the SLIAC, I really feel that our men are ready to regain that top spot in the conference," comments assistant coach Jonathan Eckberg. "I'm excited to see how the season plays out. The depth that we have on our men's side will really push all of our guys to be the best they can be."
The Panthers staff is led by its 17th year head coach Brian Patton, and fourth year assistant Jonathan Eckberg. Patton, a 21-time recipient of the SLIAC cross country coach of the year award, has coached 157 all-conference athletes, and is looking to build on that success in 2010.
"Our depth is our greatest asset right now," said Patton. "We definitely should be able to finish strong because of our numbers."
Kicking off the season, the men's Panther squad will travel to Washington University in St. Louis for their first official contest. The season will build to the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional meet at Augustana on Saturday, Nov. 13, as they attempt to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships at Wartburg College in Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 20.