Men run to second-place tie at MAC championships

Brad Tansey

Senior Scott Hilditch’s third-place finish propelled the Kent State men’s cross country team to a tie for second place at the Mid-American Conference Championship meet in Kalamazoo, Mich., Saturday.

The Flashes tied Miami with a total team score of 94 points while Eastern Michigan won the MAC Championship with 66 points.

Hilditch finished with a time of 24 minutes, 45.2 seconds in the 8k race. Hilditch’s performance earned him First Team All-MAC honors for the second consecutive season.

“Hilditch did a great job like he’s done all year long,” Kent State coach Mark Croghan said. “He did a nice job of competing the whole way around, particularly after he got out quick.”

Eastern Michigan sophomore Terefe Ejigu won the race, crossing the finish line at 24:08.3.

The women’s team finished ninth overall in the 6k race with 254 points, while Toledo won the women’s MAC title with 44 points.

MAC Championship Results

Men’s team results (nine teams)

1. Eastern Michigan: 66 points

T2. Kent State: 94 points

T2. Miami: 94 points

4. Akron: 103 points

5. Ohio: 107 points

Kent State men’s top 5

1. Scott Hilditch (3rd): 24:45.2

2. Michael Heller (11th): 25:06.3

3. Steve Fischer (17th): 25:16.5

4. Colin Pettiford (28th): 25:36.6

5. Kiplangat Tisia (35th): 25:42.2

Women’s team results (12 teams)

1. Toledo: 44 points

2. Central Michigan: 67 points

3. Miami: 69 points

4. Ohio: 89 points

5. Eastern Michigan: 157 points

9. Kent State: 254 points

Kent State women’s top 5

1. Kassandra Meholick (36th): 22:20.8

2. Jessica Lhotsky (41st): 22:33.2

3. Allison Krupko (44th): 22:40.2

4. Hannah Spicer (66th): 23:13.3

5. Melinda Sawnor (67th): 23:18.7

Croghan said he had “mixed feelings” about the men’s finish after winning the team’s first MAC Championship in school history last season.

“Certainly some guys really stepped up and ran really well,” Croghan said. “I thought that certainly we were capable of being in the top three. Miami, Eastern (Michigan) and even Akron I thought had really strong teams.”

Junior co-captain Michael Heller finished second on the team with an 11th-place finish. The finish earned Heller Second Team All-MAC honors for the second year in a row.

Heller said he was disappointed with his finish.

“You always want to finish higher than you were last year,” he said. “So, I wanted to try to be in the top seven.”

Sophomore Colin Pettiford finished fourth on the team with a time of 25:16.5.

“Pettiford did a really nice job of stepping up, competing the whole way around,” Croghan said.

The women’s team has seen better days.

Croghan said he was disappointed in the women’s finish at the conference championship meet.

“I think we didn’t get out and get our self in a good position,” he said. “I think from 800 meters into the race we were too far back from where we needed to be and we didn’t get to where we needed to be from that point.”

Senior Kassandra Meholick was Kent State’s top finisher, crossing the finish line at 22:20.8 for 36th place.

Toledo senior Ari Fisher won the race for the second year in a row with a time of 20:05.8.

“As a team, we didn’t do exactly what we had wanted to do,” senior co-captain Allison Krupko said. “But, everybody gave their all and when you do that, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Krupko finished 44th overall with a time of 22:40.2.

Senior Jessica Lhotsky finished second on the team for the Flashes with a time of 22:33.2, which was good for 41st place overall.

“It’s certainly not what we wanted to do,” Croghan said. “We will have to regroup and get ready for regionals here in two weeks.”

The Flashes return to action Nov. 13 in Rochester, Mich., for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].