Weather conditions not ideal for runners

Nate Stuart

Cross country team keeps on running

Kent State’s cross country teams competed in the Mid-American Conference Championships at Beaver Island State Park in Buffalo, N.Y. this weekend, where the runners had to deal with rain, snow and mud. Despite the tough conditions, seniors Ben Weitmarschen, Ryan Spellman and Stephanie Blackstone earned All-MAC honors.

The mens’ team finished third overall. They were led by Weitmarschen, who finished fifth overall with a time of 27:58.40. Finishing close behind were Spellman (ninth), senior Seth Hutchinson (17th), sophomore Dan Klatt (20th) and freshman Aiman Scullion (22nd).

Weitmarschen earned All-MAC first-team honors while Spellman was All-MAC second team.

Senior Seth Hutchinson, who typically leads the team, said he came down with flu-like symptoms right before the race started.

“It couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Hutchinson said. “As soon as the race started, I could tell something was going on. If I had run like I usually do, we would have gotten second place. I definitely take the blame.”

But Kent State coach Mark Croghan said he was thrilled about the way Weitmarschen finished. He also said Ryan Spellman’s strong performance is building his confidence and that he expects Spellman will return next year as a better runner.

The women’s team finished tenth out of twelve teams. Senior Stephanie Blackstone led them by finishing eighth overall with a time of 20:55.0. Following her were senior Tiffany Brenneman (38th) and sophomore Sarah McCort (55th). Blackstone earned All-MAC second-team honors for her performance.

The weather had a big effect on the runners. Blackstone said she ran “in the worst conditions imaginable.” She compared it to running in sand and said that runners were falling all over the place.

“I hope the MAC meet fuels the fire for the girls as a team,” Blackstone said. “We don’t want to end on this note.”

Both teams had to deal with gusty winds, a chilly temperature of about 40 degrees as well as the mud. The men had to run through the rain, according to the Kent State athletics Web site, but it cleared up by the time the women ran.

Eastern Michigan won the Men’s Championship. It swept the top three spots with Corey Nowitzke’s time of 26:52.60 setting the pace.

Ohio won the Women’s Championship. Ohio’s Carime Reinhart had the best overall time finishing in 20:02.9.

In two weeks the men’s team will compete in the regionals.

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