Lizarribar looks to build on second place finish

Brian Thursby

Junior impresses with big finish in her cross country debut

The Kent State women’s cross country team received an unexpected boost from junior Alex Lizarribar in her first collegiate meet.

Lizarribar placed second Saturday in the Iona invitational. Lizarribar ran in high school and for relaxation in college but because of a friend’s urging just recently joined the cross country team.

“I have always been a runner,” Lizarribar said. “My friend convinced me to do it.”

Lizarribar’s friend is also her cross country teammate Kelly Gephart. Gephart, a senior and former high school track rival of Lizarribar, said she is proud of Lizarribar and her finish.

“I ran against her in high school, (and) I had been trying to get her to try out for the team for a while now,” Gephart said. “She is so modest about (her finish last week), and she should not be at all because what she did was unbelievable. She is going to be a huge contribution to the MAC and the team in general.”

Kent State coach Mark Croghan also expected Lizarribar to do well in her first collegiate meet.

“She did a great job competing the entire way around, and where she finished was not a huge shock for me,” Croghan said. “Having watched her in practice you realize she has a lot of ability and work ethic.”

Lizarribar said she was able to place so well because of her strategy and speed.

“I just tried to stay in the pack of people,” Lizarribar said. “I did not want to get stuck with people, and I made sure to stay in the top three.”

Croghan said he expects a similar performance from Lizarribar this Saturday in Athens at the Ohio Invitational.

“She has extremely high goals for herself,” Croghan said. “She wants to go down there, be competitive and take another step forward. I expect her to go down there, race aggressive and put her(self) in the front of the pack.”

Gephart said even with all positive attention Lizarribar is receiving, she is staying grounded and focused on the team.

“She is a very modest person and deserves all the credit for how smart and gutsy she ran,” Gephart said. “I think right now it helps (that) our team is so team orientated, and no one is running for themselves.”

Even with a stellar start to her cross country career, Lizarribar remained modest about her quick start.

“I do the same thing as everyone else (on the team) does,” she said.

Contact sports reporter Brian Thursby at [email protected].