Leader of the pack

Nate Stuart

Senior cross country runner overcomes adversity to lead KSU

In the first two meets of the season, senior Seth Hutchinson has posted the team’s best times, but he said the team has eight or nine runners with the ability to place in the top five in any given race. KATIE ROUPE | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

Seth Hutchinson, a fifth-year senior, is the go-to guy for the Kent State cross country team. However, it wasn’t always clear that he would be a star, or even run for Kent State.

Hutchinson said that when he came to Kent State he had big goals. Those goals were shattered when he injured his knee and missed his entire freshman season as a redshirt. He said over-training caused his injury, and that he worked so hard to get back in shape that it made him sick and only made his knee worse.

“I thought I was done,” Hutchinson said.

Due to the seriousness of the injury, Hutchinson said a lot of people were telling him that he should quit running. But he loved running so much he had to stick with it.

Soon he had to have a risky surgery to cut a band in his knee. He said it was worth it and that he felt better than ever when he started running again.

“I have worked so hard to get where I am,” Hutchinson said.

Leading the team

This year, Hutchinson has posted the best times for the Flashes at the first two meets this season.

Before coming to Kent State, Hutchinson ran cross country at nearby Field High School. He came from an athletic family. His father was a football player at Northwestern and his mother is a constant runner. He has two brothers who also ran for Field. The youngest, Nate, ran for Ohio State.

He said the daily workout routine for the cross country team is misleading to students because they usually just see them running around campus. Hutchinson said they switch workouts every other day and that when people see them around campus it is the team’s easy workout. Those flat, straight runs typically follow a day of much longer hill runs and shorter but faster temple runs.

Hutchinson gives a lot of credit to his coach, Mark Croghan, whose training program has really helped improve his speed.

Sizing up the competition

The team to beat in the Mid-American Conference this season is nationally ranked Eastern Michigan.

“It would be amazing to knock them off this year,” Hutchinson said.

He also said his goal for the team was to place in the top three in the MAC.

“We have a good mix of seniors and underclassmen,” Hutchinson said. “This is the deepest team Kent State has had since I have been here.”

Hutchinson has confidence in the team because of its depth. If one runner does poor, than another runner will pick up the slack. Kent State has eight or nine runners who have the ability to place in the top five in any given race.

“This team is setting itself up really well to be ready when it counts in late October,” Hutchinson said.

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