Hilditch, Mahue highlight cross country’s season debut

Brad Tansey

Men’s runners

Scott Hilditch broke the course record at the Tommy Evans Invitational in Akron en route to his first place finish in Kent State men’s cross country team’s first meet of the season.

The senior co-captain jumped into the front of the pack in the beginning of the race, maintaining his position in the top three until the finish. He finished the four-mile race in 19:57.

Kent State coach Mark Croghan said he was pleased with Hilditch’s performance.

“Scott did what I knew Scott was going to do,” he said. “He got himself in a position to win, and then he kind of ran away with it at the end, so there was no surprise there.”

Hilditch broke former Kent State runner Aiman Scullion’s course record of 20:18 set last season.

He defeated runners from Akron, Malone and Youngstown State.

Hilditch said he “didn’t feel as good as he wanted to the first half of the race.”

“I had the plan to go out real conservative, and then once I felt I could gap (the second place runner) and make him hurt a little bit, I decided to go for it,” he said. “I just dropped a real strong surge for about 400 to 800 meters, and I just maintained it until the finish.”

At last year’s Tommy Evans Invitational, Hilditch finished second with a time of 20:20.

Freshman Andrew Goodwin finished sixth in his collegiate cross country debut.

“It was indescribable,” Goodwin said. “I wasn’t expecting to be that high up.”

As a team, the Flashes were down in the first two miles but came back strong in the finish.

Croghan said he was pleased with the fight his runners had.

“The thing that really pleased me on the men’s side today was the fact that we were so far back at two miles and we continued to compete in that second half of the race,” he said.

Women’s runners

Summer training paid off for junior co-captain Audrey Maheu, who finished a team-best fifth place in the 5k race with a time of 18:56.

“My summer training set me up pretty good for the season,” she said. “I know I’m not going to have my best races early on. The goal is to peak in the (Mid-American Conference) Championships.”

In last season’s Tommy Evans Invitational, Maheu finished with a team-best second place with a time of 18:57.

Croghan said he thought the women’s team performed well in the team’s first meet.

“Audrey, I thought, ran a very aggressive race from the front, which I’m not unhappy about at this point,” he said. “At this point, it’s OK to try some things and for her to go out and get after (Akron’s Kim Lorentz) on a aggressive race I thought was a good thing for Audrey to do.”

Lorentz won the race with a time of 18:06. It was her third consecutive win at the Tommy Evans Invitational.

Senior Jessica Lhotsky, who finished 14th with a time of 19:26, said she performed better than she thought she was going to.

“The first meet of the year is always nerve-racking,” she said. “You don’t really know where you stand. All you really have is summer training and a couple weeks of training with the team.”

The Flashes return to action Sept. 18 at the Buffalo Stampede in Buffalo, N.Y.

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].