Women claim second in Tommy Evans Invitational


Women’s Cross Country

Richie Mulhall


The Kent State women’s cross country team finished second – just eight points behind Malone University – in Thursday’s 46th annual Tommy Evans Invitational at Firestone Metro Park in Akron.

The women finished with a 3-1 record in the five-team meet after defeating Akron, 48-15, scoring a convincing 50-15 victory, notching a 38-23 win against Youngstown. Malone ultimately edged the Flashes by a slim margin of 32-24, but cross-country coach Mark Croghan said he was satisfied with the way his team competed.

“We were very good up front with Kelsey [McAlpine] finishing and being right in the hunt there for the win near the end, and I thought Rachel [Slingluff] did a great job competing all the way up to the line,” Croghan said. “I think [Slingluff] passed a girl during that last 200-meter stretch, so those two ran extremely well.”

Senior McAlpine and junior Slingluff led the way for the girl’s team, placing second and fifth, respectively. Croghan said his two veteran leaders had a lot of younger women step up behind them, as the team saw a total of nine runners break into the top 25.

“A lot of them were freshmen running their first meet as collegiate athletes, so all-in-all on the women’s side, I’m very happy with the way we competed.”

The women’s team’s placement in the season opener was as follows (overall place and time):

Kelsey McAlpine (2nd 18:41)

Rachel Slingluff (4th 18:51)

Taylor Wickey (10th 19:31)

Tabitha Jacofsky (11th 19:43)

Lauren Burnett (13th 19:49)

Brigid Callaghan (14th 19:53)

Lindsey Myers (17th 20:04)

Madison Spreitzer (20th 20:18)

Morgan Bing (21st 20:22)

Kristen Bergmeyer (27th 20:45)

Jesse Slingluff (38th 21:39)

Robin Foster (39th 21:52)

The men’s team took fourth at the invitational with a 1-3 record. They defeated Marshall, 27-32, but fell to Akron, 18-40; Malone, 16-46; and Youngstown State, 19-42.

Women’s 5k Team Standings

Malone (4-0)
Kent State (3-1)
Akron (2-2)
Youngstown State (1-3)
Marshall (0-4)

Men’s 4-Mile Team Standings

Malone (4-0)
Akron (3-1)
Youngstown State (2-2)
Kent State (1-3)
Marshall (0-4)

“I thought we positioned ourselves well early, and up front Matt Kahl had a very aggressive race, but he just didn’t quite put it together during the last 800,” Croghan said. “But I was very pleased with the way he ran up front.”

Kahl, a fifth-year senior who is no stranger to running the Firestone course, was a bright spot on the men’s side and the only men’s runner to break the top 10, finishing eighth-place.

“If he continues to race like that in the season, he’s bound to be successful,” Croghan said. “I’m sure he’s a little disappointed with the way he finished, but his approach was very good.”

Moving forward, Croghan said the guys need to run smarter and work together as a unit better.

“We kind of got broken up after the first mile,” he said. “And I think in order for us to be successful as we go through the season, the number two through that number seven position, those guys are going to really have to work as a unit, particularly in the first half of the race.”

Once some of the younger, more inexperienced runners get a few more races under their belts and gain a little more collegiate experience, it’ll all come together, Croghan said.

“We’re just going to have to work together and get better one week at a time,” he said.

The men’s team’s placement in the season opener was as follows (overall place and time):

Matt Kahl (8th 20:39.50),

Mitchell Grose (21st 21:27)

Samuel Allen (26th 21:43)

Jared Fleming (27th 21:48)

Joey Kinkelaar (28th 21:51)

Grant Onken (30th 21:57)

Nick Schank (34th 22:09)

Matt Waaland (39th 22:36)

The Flashes will return to the course Saturday, Sept. 20, when they travel to Bronx, N.Y., in two weeks to compete in the Iona Meet of Champions.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].