University of Mount Olive recorded a perfect score and earned its fourth consecutive conference title as the Trojans won the 2015 Conference Carolinas Men's Cross Country Championship Friday at Frank Liske Park in Concord, N.C. The Trojans compiled the minimum score of 15 points by having all of the team's point scorers finish first through fifth in the 8k race.
Eugeni Gil finished first out of 91 runners and was named 2015 Conference Carolinas Men's Cross Country Runner of the Year. Gil is the third men's cross country student-athlete in UMO history to win the award.
"This is my third time racing at the championship and it feels great to win it," said Gil, a junior from Barcelona, Spain. "We all ran together for the first two laps and then spread apart. I guess the team let me get out in front!"
Jonathan Dahlke, a two-time Conference Carolinas Runner of the Week winner this season, finished second.
This has been a good year for me," said Dahlke, a sophomore from Cologne, Germany. "I was pretty much injured last year, so it's been good to be injury free this year and be the best runner I can be.
Gil and Dahlke were among five All-Conference Carolinas First Team runners. Joining the pair were third-place finisher Michael Munoz, fourth-place finisher Fredric Lang and fifth-place finisher Jacob Urys.
Trojan head coach Matt van Lierop was named 2015 Conference Carolinas Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Mount Olive became only the second team in the history of the Conference Carolinas Men's Cross Country Championship to earn a perfect score. Former conference member Queens performed the feat in 2009.
Mount Olive was able to capture the top six spots and seven of the top 10 without the services of perennial All-Conference performer Akiharu Kitagawa, who had to withdraw after aggravating a previous injury. Kitagawa is expected to be ready for this year's NCAA Division II Regional in two weeks.
The Trojans beat second-place King by 47 points. Limestone was third with 113 points.
Mount Olive now eyes the 2015 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional and a shot at a fifth straight trip to the NCAA II National Championship. Gil says the team is already in preparation.
"We've already finished celebrating the conference championship," said Gil. "Now we're preparing for the regionals."
The NCAA II Southeast Regional takes place November 7 at Wingate, N.C.