BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Cross country running is never a walk in the park and when you mix in an elite level of competition it's even more difficult.

That's exactly what the Virginia Commonwealth University men's cross country team faced and it showed its youth by stumbling to a 36th place finish in the annual race that features over 40 of the country's top programs in an eight kilometer race.

VCU was led by seniors Walid Berkhedle (Toronto, Ontario) and Piotr Dybas (Jaslo, Poland). Berkhedle completed the eight kilometer course in 25:12, and Dybas followed just 17 seconds behind.

"This meet is a never an easy one because of the size and this year was no different," Director of Cross Country Nicole Cook said. "I was really pleased to see some of our younger guys step up in such a big time environment and show progress. We're continuing to make progress with each passing week and that's a great sign of things to come for this program."

One of the underclassmen that Cook was referring to was sophomore Justin Kendall (Richmond, Va.) who had the fourth best finish among the Rams with a time of 26:10.

The next challenge for VCU Men's Cross Country will be an in-state meet at the University of Virginia Invitational on October 15th.