Men’s Cross Country leads at Tommy Evans Invite

Brian Thursby

Women runners take third place

Senior Tony Jordanek runs in the men’s four-mile run at the Tommy Evans Invitational in Akron on Saturday. Jordanek placed fifth with a time of 20:25. Dana Beveridge | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Both Kent State’s men’s and women’s cross country teams entered their first meet with high expectations. With a win and a third place finish, both squads set the bar high for the rest of the season.

The Flashes opened their seasons Saturday at the Tommy Evans Invitational at Firestone Metro Park in Akron. Taking the first three places, the men finished with a dominant win while the women’s team finished in third place. Senior Aiman Scullion won the men’s individual competition with a time of 20:18.

“I am really happy with the way we ran,” Kent State coach Mark Croghan said.

The men’s team finished with a score of 18, beating out Akron, Ohio Northern, Buffalo and Youngstown State. The women’s team finished with 70, ahead of Buffalo and Ohio Northern but behind Akron and Youngstown State.

The men’s team had a strong hold on the lead pack with six runners finishing in the top 10 during the four-mile run. Following closely behind Scullion were juniors Scott Hilditch and John Minen, taking second and third place.

Youngstown State freshman Kiplangat Tisia narrowly beat senior Tony Jordanek for fourth place. Freshman Michael Heller finished seventh in 20:38, and senior Joe Purpura rounded out the Flashes’ scoring with a ninth-place finish.

Heller said Croghan’s strategy for the meet helped him during the race.

“Coach wanted us to work on running as a team,” Heller said. “It is more intimidating seeing a mob of blue and gold.”

Top finishers for the women’s team in the 5K run were sophomore Audrey Maheu with a time of 18:57 to take second and senior Kelly Gephart, who finished fifth with a 19:08.

Junior Allison Krupko finished 11th with a time of 19:50, senior Jessie Moore ran a 20:48 to finish 22nd and sophomore Stephanie Black rounded out the Flashes’ day in 21:21.

Although the women did not win the meet, Croghan said he was pleased with their peformances.

“Audrey and Kelly did a great job out front,” Croghan said. “It was the first time for some of our runners, and overall they did a great job.”

Heller was one of those new runners, as Saturday was Heller’s first collegiate race.

“We are all really excited we started the season off on a good note,” Heller said. “It is really cool being a freshman running with the seniors.”

Kent State will next run next at the Iona Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 19 in the Bronx, N.Y.

Contact sports reporter Brian Thursby at [email protected].