Flashes run away with the win at Tommy Evans Invitational

Grant Engle

The Kent State men’s cross-country team started off the season on the right foot Thursday with a win at the Tommy Evans Invitational at Firestone Metro Park in Akron.

The team had to deal with wet, muddy conditions from the consistent rainfall throughout the day.

In what Kent State coach Mark Croghan described as “a total team effort,” the men defeated Buffalo, Malone, Youngstown State and Kent State’s bitter rival and host of the tournament: Akron.

“Akron was aggressive early in this race last year,” Croghan said. “But our guys were ready for that this year.”

Sophomore Steve Fischer led the way with a third place finish. He finished with a time of 20:26 — only 12 seconds behind the first-place finisher.

Fischer was joined in the top 10 by teammates Mike Heller, Andrew Goodwin and Daniel Bullard. No other team had more than two runners finish in the top 10.

Croghan was also very pleased with the perseverance of freshman Matt Kahl, who finished in 18th place with a time of 21:16.

“Matt closed extremely well and finished strong,” Croghan said.

Fischer was happy with his personal performance, and said that the conditions didn’t bother him.

“I like to run in that stuff,” Fischer said. “I had a good meet in the rain last year, so I just stuck my nose in front and finished strong.”

Fischer was also happy with the effort of his entire team and pointed out the depth the roster possesses.

“The team did great. We have a really solid top four, and I’m sure someone will step up and fill our fifth spot,” Fischer said.

Croghan said the Kent State women’s team ran “pretty well,” but said the team still needs to establish who its 1-5 runners are going to be throughout the season.

“One through three this week might be different than our top three next week,” Croghan said.

Croghan specifically mentioned Paige Foster, Hannah Spicer and Katelyn Jacobson as runners who had good performances. Though Croghan pointed out much of a team’s first race is to get rid of jitters.

The Kent State women defeated Youngstown State, but finished behind Akron, Malone and Buffalo.

Freshman Paige Foster finished the highest among the Kent State runners, placing fourth overall with a time of 19:23.

Foster said the race felt “pretty good,” but the conditions had an effect on the runners.

“The course was tough for everyone, it was so muddy and so wet,” Foster said.

Foster was satisfied with her individual result and said the team as a whole ran well and she was pleased with everyone’s effort.

“Everyone ran well, but there is room for improvement,” Foster said. “The race gave us motivation to work harder.”

The rivalry between Kent State and Akron is well documented in sports like football and basketball, but Fischer and Foster said the rivalry isn’t lost on them either.

“When you’re running next to an Akron runner, you have extra desire to pick it up and beat them,” Foster said.

Foster said losing to Akron won’t be forgotten, and this loss will certainly give the team “motivation to work harder to beat them later.”

Fischer said he didn’t quite understand the rivalry between Kent State and Akron as a freshman, but he has come to understand it through his experience.

“Beating Akron is just something an athlete at Kent State wants to do,” Foster said. “Both teams are looking to make the MAC better, but we always want to beat them.”

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