Members of the EKU men’s cross country team pose for a picture at a meet earlier this season. Progress File Photo

The Eastern men’s cross country team is one of 10 teams in the country to qualify for NCAA Nationals in five consecutive years. The Colonels finished 17th at the 2015 Nationals; the second-best finish by an Eastern team ever. The Colonels finished 15th in 2013.

“This team is really young,” Head Coach Rick Erdmann said. “We have almost everyone returning next year. The key to next season is attitude. We have to keep a positive attitude. We are going to work toward improving our track team during the season and work toward improving our distance running over the summer.”

The Colonels finished the meet with a total of 446 points, finishing ahead of Oklahoma State (450), Minnesota (464), Tulsa (468), Southern Utah (477), Virginia (480), California (524) and Michigan State (543).

Leading the way for the Colonels, junior Jaime Perales finished 37th out of 252 competitors finishing the 10K with a time of 30:24.3. With a strong performance over the past weekend, Perales received All-American honors.

“Jaime was the key,” said Erdmann. “He ran really well last weekend on a very challenging course. Being an All-American is a very big achievement.”

The top-5 runners for the Colonels included freshman Erick Rotich who finished 90th with a time of 30:54.4. Junior Amos Kosgey finished 124th with a time of 31:10.8, while junior Ambrose Maritim finished 137th with a time of 31:17.9. Sophomore Jamaine Coleman finished 173rd with a time of 31:38.8.

Junior Sergio Marcuello (196th/31:57.2) also competed for Eastern over the weekend.

“We had a lot of ups and downs this season,” said Erdmann. “Overall, I was really pleased with the performance, but we can always do better.”

Syracuse upset No. 1 Colorado with 82 points to win the national title.