Men’s team takes tenth, women place 15th at Great Lakes Regional

Thomas Gallick

The cross country team improved on its performance two weeks ago at the Mid-American Conference Championships in Saturday’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Bloomsburg, Ind.

The men finished tenth overall in a field of 30 teams and third among schools from the MAC behind Eastern Michigan and Miami. The team finished sixth at the MAC Championships two weeks ago.

Sophomore Aiman Scullion ran the best individual race for the Flashes, finishing in 39th place with a time of 31:54.11.

“We all ran a great race and kind of redeemed our poor performance at the MAC Championships,” Scullion said. “It feels great.”

Freshman Scott Hilditch and junior Joe Parker also finished in the top 75 for the Flashes, coming in at 51st and 65th, respectively. Coach Mark Croghan said he was especially proud of seniors Ray Armstrong and Ryan Spellman, who finished with top 100 finishes in a field of 204 runners.

Croghan said the team bounced back in remarkable fashion after failing to achieve its goals in the MAC Championships.

“We finished in the top third of the region,” Croghan said. “These guys performed exceptionally well and much better than two weeks ago.”

The men’s team finished ahead of MAC rivals Akron, Central Michigan, Ohio and Toledo.

The Big Ten Conference dominated on the men’s side, with Michigan and Wisconsin finishing tied for first place.

The women’s team finished in a tie with MAC opponent Central Michigan for 15th place. Thirty teams made up the field for the women’s portion of the regionals.

The team placed ninth in the MAC championships two weeks ago, and finished behind Akron, Ball State, Miami, Ohio and Toledo Saturday. Kent State finished ahead of Bowling Green and Western Michigan.

Michigan State won the women’s portion of the competition, ahead of Michigan in second and Wisconsin in third.

Croghan said he saw improvement in the race the women’s team ran at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.

“We took a step forward on the women’s side and performed much better than we did last race,” Croghan said. “We ran the kind of race we knew we were capable of.”

Sophomore Kelly Gephart led the Flashes individually with a 57th place finish at 22:31.53 in a field of 215 runners. Freshman Kassandra Meholick finished in a close second to Gephart in 59th place.

This was the first event of the entire season where Meholick did not lead the Flashes individually. Croghan said she was dealing flu-like symptoms and ran an excellent race under the circumstances.

Freshman Allison Krupko also finished in the top 100 for the Flashes in 96th place overall.

The team looks to improve next season, as its frontrunners from this season were underclassmen. Gephart, Krupko and Meholick, the team’s top three runners on the women’s side will all return next season, as will Hilditch and Scullion on the men’s side among others.

Scullion said the returning cross country team members have already set goals for next year and see room for improvement.

“We’ve already started talking about how we’re reloading next year and will be back in the hunt for the MAC Championship,” Scullion said.

Contact cross country reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].