Bliss, Impellitteri lead way to 7th place finish

No. 15 EMU cruises to impressive 53 point win.

-á-á-á-á Success in sports is often compared to climbing a ladder. Countless coaches and athletes utter the familiar refrain each year of just wanting to take the next step. With that in mind, the men's cross country team traveled to Ypsilanti, Mich. on Saturday for the Mid-American Conference championship meet, hoping to put some lackluster performances behind them and improve upon last season's seventh-place finish.

-á-á-á-á While their effort was solid, the Cardinals did not advance up the ladder, duplicating their seventh-place finish with a score of 196. Still, assistant coach Jim Trautmann said there is no disappointment on the team.

-á-á-á-á "This was a much improved performance not only compared to our previous meets this season, but it was better than our meet here last season," Trautmann said. "The guys still weren't as good as I think they can be but they ran much better than they had and really competed hard."

-á-á-á-á The Cardinals were led by senior Matt Bliss, competing in his final MAC championship meet, finished 18th overall (25:56).

-á-á-á-á "Matt didn't have as good a race as I thought he would," Trautmann said. "He's had a lot of good races his season but was just off a little bit."

-á-á-á-á One runner who was not off on Saturday was sophomore Sal Impellitteri. Often a member of what Trautmann refers to as "the pack," Impellitteri broke away Saturday for a strong 24th-place finish (26:00).

-á-á-á-á "Sal had the best performance of the meet for us," Trautmann said. "All those guys in the pack were ready for a breakout meet and we finally had someone do it."-á-á-á

-á-á-á-á Running on their home course, with a No. 15 national-ranking and a chance to defend last season's MAC crown, the Eastern Michigan Eagles did not disappoint. They breezed to the team title behind individual champion, Boaz Cheboiywo, who set a MAC record time of 24:11. Although not laden with such star-studded performances, Trautmann feels his team's effort is one that can be built upon for the future.

-á-á-á-á "We still have many more improvements to make, but this was a positive meet and definitely a step forward."


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