Graham Leads Way for DePaul at Opening Meet
Sept. 3, 2011
CHICAGO – The DePaul cross country squad opened its 2011 campaign with a successful start at the UIC Home Opener on Saturday morning as both the men and women completed the day with third place finishes. Individually, senior Matthew Graham picked up his first win of the season, finishing with a time of 20:29.5 at the Horse Trail Lake meet.
“The meet was definitely a good start to the year for the men,” head coach Dave Dopek said following the meet. “Matt Graham, as usual, ran a great race.”
Dopek also noted the strong performance from the other men’s runners, saying “Dennis Baliga ran a really solid race and showed great leadership on the course…Chris Miedema, Ian Sanchez, and Brian Begalke ran well together throughout their first race of the year. As a staff, we are very pleased with their start to the men's 2011 campaign.”
Baliga, Miedema, and Sanchez all placed in the top 20 while Begalke finished 22nd. Baliga’s time of 21:27.0 earned him 17th place, Miedema (21:34.8) took nineteenth, and Sanchez (21:35.4) finished in 20th.
The women’s squad also finished strong in third place.
“Our women also ran well,” Dopek continued. “Freshman Jackie Kasal led our ladies across the line, while senior Claire O'Brien had a great return to Blue Demon competition [after two quarters studying abroad] by being our second to cross the line.”
Kasal’s time of 11:51.7 earned her 13th at the meet while O’Brien followed with a 17th place time of 12:01.2. Another freshman making her DePaul debut, Danielle Hernando, fell just outside the top 20 as she ran a 12:06.5, 21st place time.
Dopek added, “There is much for these teams to learn this year and we are excited by the potential of both teams. “One meet at a time.”
Loyola Chicago took first place for both the men’s and women’s sides.
DePaul’s next meet is scheduled for September 16 as the Blue Demons will travel to South Bend, Ind., to compete in the National Catholic Championship.