Heat takes toll on cross country runners in All-Ohio Championship

Thomas Gallick

The Kent State men’s cross country team finished seventh overall and the women’s team finished ninth in an All-Ohio Championship race characterized by high temperatures and a hilly course at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

The men’s team placed fifth among division one teams, finishing behind Mid-American Conference rivals Akron and Ohio in a field of nine.

Coach Mark Croghan said he was proud of the way the men raced but felt the team could have followed their game plan more closely on a cooler day.

“We kind of struggled in the 90 degree heat,” Croghan said. “Joe Parker and Ryan Spellman ran well, but I think the heat stopped Aiman from running the race he wanted to have.”

Junior Joe Parker led the Flashes, finishing in 25th place, while senior Ryan Spellman finished 29th and sophomore Aiman Scullion placed 47th.

The women’s team finished sixth against division one opponents, behind four MAC teams in a field of 11.

Freshman Kassandra Meholick and sophomore Kelly Gephart finished 15th and 25th respectively. Meholick said she and Gephart practiced running together last week after they finished twelve seconds apart at the Notre Dame Invitational.

“Our goal for today was for Kelly and I to run together and our three, four and five runners to stick together,” Meholick said. “It was a really hot day and the conditions were rough, but I thought we did well.”

Croghan said he liked the fact that the men’s and women’s teams showed maximum effort in this week, something he did not see at Notre Dame.

“The thing I really liked about the races that the men and women ran was that both teams ran very aggressively,” Croghan said. “We just need to get a little sharper before the MAC Championships.”

Croghan said he was particularly proud of the underclassmen on the women’s team, who continue to lead the Flashes statistically. He said it is harder for men to make the jump from high school cross country to college because the length of their event changes drastically, but said Freshmen Scott Hilditch and John Minen continue to make huge strides.

Parker said he thought the men’s team strategy was affected by the heat, but added the event was a good learning experience for a team still focused on finishing well in the MAC Championships.

“I would be lying if I said the team hasn’t been thinking about the MAC Championships for months now,” Parker said. “It’s obviously our main goal and we believe we can finish in the top two.”

The cross country team will compete in the MAC Championships Oct. 27. The men’s team races next at the Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute, Ind., while the women’s team will travel to Bowling Green to participate in the Falcon Open the same day.

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