Spring momentum big for team

Brock Harrington

After strong track season, cross country looks ahead

Junior Aiman Scuillion finishes a meet last season. PHOTO COURTESY OF TOM CAMMETT | DIAMOND IMAGES

Credit: DKS Editors

Mark Croghan has seen a lot of success in his cross country career. The Kent State coach enters his third season with the program, and although the three-time U.S. Olympian and five-time U.S. national champion has many first-place finishes in his own career, his team is running through rough patches.

“Certainly, we were definitely disappointed in the way we performed last season,” Croghan said.

The men’s cross country team had only two first-place finishes in 2007, while the women had only one second-place finish. However, between the two teams, only six runners were seniors, while 11 runners were underclassmen.

Translation? The 2008 team is loaded with young experience.

2008 Cross Country Schedule

* Aug. 29 Short Course Open

Sept. 13 at Mel Brodt Invitational (Bowling Green)

Sept. 20 at Iona Meet of Champions (New Rochelle, N.Y.)

Oct. 10 at All-Ohio Championships (Delaware, Ohio)

Oct. 17 at Penn State National Invitational (State College, Pa.)

Oct. 18 at Pre-National Meet (Terra Haute, Ind.)

Nov. 1 at Mid-American Conference Championships (Athens)

Nov. 15 at Great Lakes Regional (West Lafayette, Ind.)

Nov. 24 at NCAA Championships (TBA)

*Home meet

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Men’s 2007 record

Finished sixth at Mid-American Conference Championships

Coach

Mark Croghan (third season)

Key returnees

Senior Joe Parker, junior Aiman Scullion

Key departures

Ryan Spellman, Ray Armstrong

First Meet

Aug. 29 (Short Course Open)

First home Meet

Aug. 29 (Short Course Open)

Women’s 2007 record

Finished ninth at Mid-American Conference Championships

Coach

Mark Croghan (third season)

Key returnees

Juniors Kelly Gephart, sophomore Allison Krupko

Key departures

Suzanne Spettel

First Meet

Aug. 29 (Short Course Open)

First home Meet

Aug. 29 (Short Course Open)

Aiman Scullion returns for his junior year, looking to improve upon his successful sophomore seasons in cross country and track and field. The Salem native leads a men’s team Croghan said is more experienced and more developed since last season.

Successful indoor and outdoor track seasons could be the reason why the men’s team’s future is bright, Croghan said. Scullion had impressive times in the 10K during the outdoor season. Senior runners Dan Klatt, Andrew Carnes and Joe Parker also performed well in the track season, especially in the long-distance portions of events.

“We had some success in the indoor and outdoor track seasons,” Croghan said. “Hopefully, we can carry the momentum we had in the outdoor season to the cross country season.”

The women’s team struggled last season but is made up of young runners who had possible breakout track seasons last spring. Junior Kelly Gephart will lead the pack after posting impressive times in the Mid-American Conference indoor track championships.

Gephart served as the anchor of the track team’s second-place medley relay team. She and fellow junior Jessica Lhotsky had their most success in the long-distance portions of the events.

Croghan said the women’s team is a veteran group that could have a big year if the runners continue to develop. The major goal for both teams will be to improve their MAC records, Croghan said. Last season, the men finished sixth at the MAC Championships while the women finished ninth.

The Flashes’ only event at home will be the Short Course Open on Aug. 29 and they will compete in events in Minnesota, Indiana and Pennsylvania at Penn State. The MAC Cross Country Championships will be held on Nov. 24 in an undetermined location.

Contact fall sports editor Brock Harrington at [email protected]