Cross country ‘tuning up’ for championships

Nate Stuart

A member of Kent State’s women’s cross country team finishes the 3k race. The team competed Friday at the Kent State Golf Course. JESSICA WOJCIK | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

It was a cold, rainy afternoon Friday as the Kent State cross country team ran on the muddy back-nine of the Kent State Golf Course for the annual Short Course Classic.ÿ

Kent State’s top runners took a break from competition to watch and cheer their b-team to a fourth place finish.

West Virginia dominated the Short Course Classic, having runners sweep the top four finishes. The Mountaineer’s Marie Louise Asselin came in first with a time of 10 minutes, 45.6 seconds.

Kent State junior Suzanne Spettel was the Flashes’ top finisher, coming in 17th with a time of 12:19.2.

Sophomore Melissa DiPanfilo and freshman Kelly Gephart finished right behind Spettel at 18th and 19th with times of 12:20.6 and 12:23.1, respectively.

West Virginia’s 17 points was a convincing margin of victory. Akron was 24 points behind them and came in second with 41 points. Cleveland State was third with 89 points. The Flashes finished fourth with 98 points.

“The team is tuning up for the MAC Championships,” Kent State Coach Mark Croghan said. “They are preparing both physically and mentally.”

Spettel said the girls ran a solid race and competed well in the tough weather conditions. She said the tough conditions prepare the girls for what is ahead.

“They did a good job of competing today,” Croghan said, “It would have been nice if the girls would have closed better.”

Spettel and Dipanfilo, who ran Friday, will be competing in the MAC Championships this weekend.

Senior runner Stephanie Blackstone said the weather conditions were ideal for cross country runners. She said that tough courses to run on are what they live for.

Croghan said the new golf facility on the back nine caused the course to change a little bit from the usual set up. The girls ran between colored flags for 3,000 meters.

Kent State’s cross country team will be in Buffalo, New York Saturday for the Mid-American Conference Championships, the most important race for the Flashes this fall.

Contact cross country reporter Nate Stuart at [email protected].