Mocs Battle Cold, Muddy Course at NCAA National Championship

Mitchell Kozik
Mitchell Kozik

PITTSBURGH, PA - On a cold and blustery day with a race time temperature of 42 degrees, Florida Southern finished in 30th place out of 34 teams over a muddy course here at the Bob O'Conner Golf Course at Schenley Park. The Moccasins finished with 814 points with Mitchell Kozik being the first FSC runner to cross the finish line placing 150th out of 261 runners.

"Well, we're not happy with the results," said first-year head coach Matt Levassiur, "but individually, the boys fought throughout the race. These conditions were tough, but they were tough for everybody."

Grand Valley State captured the team championship with 89 points. It was the Lakers' first national championship in men's cross country and comes on the heels of back-to-back national runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2017. Marcelo Laguera of Cal State-Pueblo won the individual national title with a course-record time of 31:46.4 over the 10K course.

"I think this team is about a year ahead of where I thought they would be at the start of the year," said Levassiur, "but I think we were a year away from being ready to run a race like this and to compete for the way that we have trained."

Kozik, a sophomore, completed his first national championship meet with a time of 35:13.4, while senior Dean McGregor ended his collegiate career coming in 189th with a time of 35:31.3 in his second NCAA championship.

Sophomore Mason Jones came in 189th with a time of 35:51.7 while freshman Michael Balseca was the next Moccasin to finish, coming in 212th with a time of 36:22.5.

Rounding out the Moccasin runners were junior Warran Grajalez (221st, 36:30.9), sophomore Josh Wagner (248th, 37:24.8), and freshman Brian Martin (260th, 38:07.6).

"It's been an honor to coach these boys and an honor to be here competing at nationals," said Levassiur. "We got great support from our fans and from Florida Southern College throughout the year and that has made my first year a bit easier."