Maheu to lead womens’ cross country team

Brad Tansey

Audrey Maheu is determined to lead this season.

That determination, according to the junior cross country runner’s coach, sets her apart from other athletes.

“I wouldn’t call her a perfectionist so much, but I think she really wants to be good; a lot of times she can get down on herself a little bit too much when she performs below her expectations,” said Kent State coach Mark Croghan. “That’s not a bad trait to have in an athlete. From that regard as a coach, you couldn’t ask much more in an athlete.”

Maheu, a native of Bristolville, Ohio, was named co-captain of the women’s cross country team this season and hopes to guide her team to a top-three finish in the Mid-American Conference. Personally, she wants the peak of her season to be at the MAC Championship meet on Oct. 30 in Kalamazoo, Mich.

“I would like to be in that top group in the MAC,” she said. “In past years, it seems like I’ve been tired going into the conference meets, so I want to be fresh this year.”

She finished 43rd last season at the MAC Championship with a time of 24 minutes, 7.1 seconds.

Maheu said off-season workout programs have helped her improve.

“I put in a lot of miles, a lot of tempo runs,” she said. “It’s hard to train over the summer when you’re on your own. I really had to just stick to the workouts coach (Croghan) gave us.”

Women’s CC preview

Key Returning Runner: Alex Lizarribar

Lizarribar returns for her senior season after finishing 77th at the NCAA Championship meet. It was the second time Kent State had a runner in the championship meet. Her finish is the best in school history.

Breakout Runner: Audrey Maheu

Maheu was elected as a co-captain for the women’s team this season. Last year, Maheu finished a season-best second at the Tommy Evans Invitational. She also finished third at the Ohio Invitational.

Key Departure: Kelly Gephart

Last season, Gephart finished a season-best fifth at the Tommy Evans Invitational with a time of 19:08. She also finished sixth at the Ohio Invitational with a time of 10:58.36.

The meet

Tommy Evans Invitational

Where: Firestone Metro Park, Akron

When: 5:30 p.m. tomorrow

Croghan said also he expects Maheu to be one of the top athletes in the MAC this season.

“I think she can be one of those athletes that can be right there near the top 15 in the MAC Championships, maybe All-MAC first team, maybe second team,” he said. “I think she would probably hold herself to a pretty high standard like that and set those types of goals for herself being an upperclassman on the team.

Maheu’s individual strength could lead to larger success for the team.

“(By running in) the top two or top three on the team and if she can do those things individually and we can pull people in around her then I think we are going to be successful as a team,” he said. “If she can accomplish those things individually, it makes us that much stronger as a team.”

At last season’s Tommy Evans Invitational, Maheu finished a team-best second place with a time of 18:57. She also finished third at the Ohio Invitational in Athens last season behind teammate Alex Lizarribar.

In her freshman season, Maheu finished with a personal best of 18:41.02 at the Mel Brodt Invitational at Bowling Green.

Maheu said her motivation behind running cross-country is the team chemistry.

“It’s just a really nice sport,” she said. “When the team gets put together, everyone’s energy flows to one another. Cross-country is very team-oriented.”

In tomorrow’s race, Maheu said she wants to see where she is physically.

“It’s the first meet of the season, so I just want to go out and see where I’m at,” she said. “Our varsity isn’t all running at this meet so it’s going to be kind of hard because we will all be broken up.”

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].