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November 17, 2007
Eagles finish eighth at nationals,
Sirbek, Jellema earn All-America honors
JOPLIN, Mo.—Junior Tim Sirbek (Hammond, Indiana) and senior Paul Jellema (Dyer, Indiana) finished 17th and 21st, respectively, to lead the University of Southern Indiana men's cross country team to an eighth-place finish at the NCAA II Championships Saturday morning.
The Screaming Eagles finished with a team score of 240 points, just 12 points behind the Colorado School of Mines, which was seventh with 228 points. The eighth-place showing is the highest finish for the Eagles, who came into the day ranked 14th in the country, since they placed eighth at the 1997 NCAA II Championships.
It also is USI's fifth top-10 finish at the NCAA II Championships in the 29-year history of the men's cross country program. USI finished third in 1982, fifth in 1983, and ninth in 1990.
"Obviously it means a lot for our guys to finish in the top 10," Head Coach Mike Hillyard said. "It puts it into historical perspective when you think that out of the 15 times this program has competed at the national championships, this is tied for our third-best finish.
"It is a testament to the hard work and dedication that this group has put forward and to the leadership that has been displayed by our upperclassmen," Hillyard added.
Both Sirbek and Jellema earned All-America honors with their finishes, marking just the second time in the program's history that two USI competitors have earned All-America honors in the same season. The first time was in 1983 when Mike Atkinson and Jim Nolan earned All-America honors.