Cross Country heads to Bowling Green

Brittany Tatgenhorst

To achieve success at the cross country meet on Saturday, Kent State coach Mark Croghan said each runner must contribute. Although cross country is thought of as an individualistic sport, Croghan said it will take hard work from each team member to ensure a Kent State victory at the Mel Brodt Invitational at Bowling Green.

“It’s going to have to be a total team effort,” said Croghan.

On the men’s team Croghan expects to see seniors Joe Parker and Tony Jordanek, and sophomore John Minen standout.

Minen led the Flashes at the first meet of the season, running the 6,000-meter race with a time of 19 minutes, 10.04 seconds placing third overall. Parker took seventh at the meet registering a time of 19:22.03, and Jordanek took 11th with a time of 19:31.11.

“They are going to have to get it done,” Croghan said. “We need to keep the gap between our top three guys to a minimum so we can do well as a team.”

Minen expects to see the gap between runners at this competition smaller than it was at the team’s first meet.

“The team is coming together a lot better,” Minen said. “I think we’re going to be a lot closer together than we were at the Short Course Open.”

Staying close will help the Flashes against the heightened competition they expect to see Saturday. Not all teams have officially registered for the meet but Croghan and the runners expect to be competing against the best teams in the state.

“We’re going to see some (Mid-American Conference) competition there,” Croghan said. “It’s a good opportunity to see some of the competition we’re going to see again down the line.”

Parker expects to see Ohio State and Malone at the event. Both are teams that defeated the men’s team in its first meet.

“Competition-wise, it’s going to be a pretty stacked race,” Parker said. “If we work together as a team, rather than individually, we’ll be able to hang in there.”

Teamwork is something Croghan also expects from the women’s team, although he said the “dynamic is a little different.”

The women’s team placed a total of four runners in the top ten and seven in the top twenty, bringing the women’s team a victory at its season opener. Sophomore Kassandra Meholick took first-place honors posting a time of 14:59.23 in the 4,000-meter race. Freshman Audrey Maheu finished close behind, placing second with a time of 15:04.39.

“I think Meholick can get up there and compete amongst the top of the field in this race,” Croghan said. “Behind her, we have five girls that can pack up pretty nice and hopefully stick as close to Meholick as possible.”

Not only will teamwork help the Flashes achieve a better team score, it will make for an easier race on Bowling Green’s flat and windy course.

“Wind becomes a pretty big factor on this course,” Minen said. “Staying in a group helps fight the wind.”

Excluding the freshmen, the runners on the team have seen this course before. The Falcon Invitational was held at the course in 2007, and in 2006 Bowling Green hosted the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship.

“Kids have an idea of what to expect when it comes to the course,” Croghan said.

Croghan said the familiarity of the course will allow the runners to gauge the progress they have made over the years.

“It’s a good opportunity to see how we’re progressing along this season,” Croghan said.

Although the team is in the building stage of its training, Croghan is optimistic about Saturday.

“I feel like we’re pretty strong,” Croghan said. “But we have to get it done with everybody.”

Contact sports reporter Brittany Tatgenhorst at [email protected].