Cross country underperforms against large field

Brad Tansey

Kent State cross country coach Mark Croghan described the Flashes’ performance this weekend as disappointing.

The men’s team finished tied for 25th, while the women finished 26th in the 42-team field at the Lehigh-Brooks Paul Short Run on Friday.

“Coming into the race, we thought we were capable of being in the top 10 or top 15,” Croghan said. “It’s not what we wanted to do.”

Leading Kent State’s men, senior co-captain Scott Hilditch finished 41st out of 387 runners in the 8k race with a time of 24 minutes, 48 seconds.

“He ran a pretty good race,” Croghan said. “He finished pretty strong. I felt he was a little conservative the first three miles.

“He probably could have run a little more aggressively, but in this race, that’s actually not a bad finish.”

Sophomore Steve Fischer finished second-best on the team with a time of 25:22, which was 128th place overall.

“Steve Fischer had a really good race,” Croghan said. “It was a really solid run for him.”

KSU Women’s top 5

1. Alex Lizarribar (103rd): 22:12

2. Jessica Lhotsky (131st): 22:29

3. Allison Krupko (137th): 22:32

4. Kassandra Meholick (154th): 22:43

5. Melinda Sawnor (155th): 22:44

Junior co-captain Michael Heller clocked a time of 25:25. He finished 139th overall.

“Mike Heller ran good,” Croghan said “In his own mind, he probably thinks he didn’t run great, he didn’t run poorly, he just kind of ran average.”

Heller said he thought he could have done better.

“I started off fast and it was a good race,” he said. “(The race) definitely could have been better.”

“I thought top 15 was a good goal for this team,” Croghan said. “Like the men’s race, I thought there were some bright spots amongst some of the not-so-good performances.”

Senior Alex Lizarribar finished a team-best 103rd place overall with a time of 22:12 in the women’s 6k race.

“I could have done a lot better,” Lizarribar said. “Right now, I’m kind of a big headcase. I have more of a mental block that’s preventing me from performing to the best of my ability physically.”

She added she plans to work on the mental aspect by having good workouts in the upcoming week to boost her confidence.

KSU Men’s top 5

1. Scott Hilditch (41st): 24:48

2. Steve Fischer (128th): 25:22

3. Michael Heller (139th): 25:25

4. Kiplangat Tisia (177th): 25:43

5. Daniel Bullard (192nd): 25:53

Croghan said he thought Lizarribar didn’t run what she was capable of.

“Alex had a tough day,” he said. “She didn’t get out where she needed to be and just kind of hovered right around 90th to 100.”

Senior Jessica Lhotsky finished in 22:29, which was second best for the Flashes.

Co-captain Allison Krupko clocked a time of 22:32 for 137th place, and Mindy Sawnor crossed the line at 22:44.

“(Lhotsky and Krupko) ran really smart and really competitive races,” Croghan said. “Mindy Sawnor, I thought did a great job.

“Those three girls in particular ran really good races for us (Friday).”

Overall, Virginia won the men’s 8k race with 132 team points, and Georgetown won the women’s 6k run with 34 points.

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].