Men’s cross country team wins fourth straight meet

Brian Thursby

Women’s team gets fourth top-5 finish

With snow, a canceled meet and an unexpected trip to Bowling Green, this weekend was anything but typical for the cross country team – except for another victory for the men’s team.

The Flashes raced Saturday in Bowling Green at the Falcon Invite following the cancelation of Friday’s Penn State National Invitational, which was cancelled because of snow. The Kent State men’s cross country team finished first for the fourth consecutive meet yesterday, while the women’s team finished second.

Junior Scott Hilditch claimed his second first-place finish of the season with a time of 24:12.5 seconds, while junior walk-on Alex Lizarribar claimed her first No. 1 finish with a time of 21:47.5.

The men’s team had three in the top 10, including Hilditch, followed closely by senior Aiman Scullion, who took second place. Sophomore Michael Heller was the only other Flash to make it into the top 10, with a 10th place finish.

The women’s team had two runners in the top 10: Lizarribar, and sophomore Audrey Maheu, who finished sixth.

Coach Marc Croghan said he was proud of the way both teams reacted to the pressure of having a short time to prepare for the Falcon Invite course.

“We ran pretty well, being focused on Penn and having to change strategies and plans,” Croghan said. “I thought we responded well to it.”

Lizarribar said both teams handled the change very well.

“I don’t think we could have asked for a better performance than what we put on, especially under the circumstances we were under this weekend,” Lizarribar said.

Croghan said a quick start and pack running helped ensure a victory for the men.

“Aiman was really aggressive in pushing the pace from the three-mile mark on,” Croghan said. “Scott benefitted from that. Both those guys were in a position to win. It was a great performance by those guys.”

Heller said the race started fast and made the grouping strategy difficult, but he was able to secure a strong spot on his own.

“I tried moving up the field little by little,” Heller said. “The race got out, and those four, Scott, Aiman, Tony and John, had their own pack.”

Croghan, though proud of the team’s performance, said the grouping in this race was lacking.

“I thought we did a really good job on the women’s side, ” Croghan said. “I was pleased with the approach we took on grouping up. It wasn’t consistent on the men’s side, certainly the elapse times for our first to fourth. I would like to improve on that.”

The Flashes will spend the next two weeks off, preparing for the Mid-American Conference championships in Athens. Though both teams have had an impressive season, Croghan said the MAC Championship is what the team has been training for.

“Our goal is to go down there and bring back the championship,” Croghan said.

Contact sports reporter Brian Thursby at [email protected].