Flashes travel to NCCA Regionals

Brian Thursby

Team will deal with large field

The Kent State cross country team heads to Bloomington, Ind. for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional postseason meet tomorrow.

Following a Mid-American Conference championship this season for the men, and a strong season for the women, hopes are high, but the meet will feature the toughest competition the teams have seen.

The regional meet will put several obstacles in the way of the Flashes, including high-ranked teams competing against a crowded field.

“It is a pretty big meet with over 30 teams. There are over 30 on women’s side, and the men’s side has right around 30,” coach Mark Croghan said.

Sophomore Michael Heller said the number of teams is not daunting to the Flashes.

“I am confident. The regional race is 10k – it just gives me more room, more time to pass some people by,” Heller said. “Getting out in those first 400 meters is going to be very important. Once you are in a good position it is about being competitive and smart and knowing how torace.”

Croghan said he was more worried about the runners burning themselves out than the amount of people in the race.

“We want to get out well, but the approach we take is going to be the same approach we take every meet, namely that we want to get guys in a position late in the race, put them in a position (where they) can compete,” Croghan said. “It is important to get out, but you don’t want to go crazy. You want to stay out of trouble. You want to get up and race.”

The Flashes did acknowledge that the congestion might play a role when they try to run in a pack, running they have become known for. MAC champion Aiman Scullion said the race would be crowded, but it would not interfere with the team as individuals and that the team was ready for anything.

“I think my confidence is pretty good going into regionals,” Scullion said. “I’m ready, and the team is ready. I think with this race being a lot more people, more runners, a longer race, it will be less of a pack and more of two runners running together. But if we can get a pack together that’s even better.”

Though facing a difficult meet, Croghan was not intimidated for the team and said the Flashes would compete strongly.

“We are going to take the same approach both on men’s and women’s side, get in the race, compete (and) let the chips fall where they may,” Croghan said. “We are not putting any limits on what we can do; we are going to put forth our best efforts.”

Contact sports reporter Brian Thursby at [email protected].