Men’s cross country team wins third consecutive meet in Athens

Brian Thursby

Women take second in shortened race

A pack finish from the Kent State men’s cross country team led to its third consecutive win of the season Saturday at the Ohio Invitational in Athens.

The men’s team stacked the top 10, taking the top four positions, while the Kent State women placed second in a 3K sprint.

The men finished with 16 points, 37 points ahead of second place Ohio. The women finished in second place with 30 points, just five points behind Dayton.

Junior John Minen led the Flashes and was the individual winner for the men’s 8K race with a time of 25:31:53.

Kent State coach Mark Croghan said the men’s team’s talent and depth helped secure the win.

“It is nice to feel some depth and have guys that can step up and run for you,” Croghan said. “It takes some pressure off the guys in the top four and (to) have four who on any given day can run number one for you.”

Saturday’s stormy weather played a large role in the women’s race, with lightning cutting down a strategic 6K race to a 3K sprint to the finish.

“We were a mile and half into the race, and the sirens went off and that meant the race turned from a 6K to a 3K,” senior Kelly Gephart said. “So in the middle of the race the girls had to make a shift, and when you are in a mindset to run 6K and your race is cut in half it becomes a mental issue. It was a sprint to the finish.”

Leading the women’s team, junior Alex Lizarribar continued her impressive season by finishing second with a time of 10:39.17, three seconds behind individual winner, Dayton junior Maureen Bulgrin.

Lizarribar said she thought the shorter race prevented her from passing Bulgrin.

“I really think if I had the whole other loop I could have gotten her,” Lizarribar said. “I would like to see her (Bulgrin) again just to see if I could catch her in a 6K.”

Competing in just her second collegiate race, Lizarribar said she was proud of how the women handled the drastic shift in the meet.

“I am pleased with (how I did). It gave me a good preview of MAC schools,” Lizarribar said. “I am really, really proud of our team’s performance, a lot of girls really stepped up and that’s what mattered.”

The Flashes have three weeks off until their next meet, the Penn State National Invitational in State College, Pa.

The Flashes will spend upcoming weeks training and looking to improve the team as a whole.

“These next three weeks will give us an opportunity to progress our training and get ready for championships,” Croghan said. “Certainly Penn State will be a part of that. We are going to use it as tune up for the MAC.”

Contact sports reporter Brian Thursby at [email protected]