Cross country teams finish well but do not move on to nationals

Sean Ammerman

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams placed 15th this Saturday at the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals in Terre Haute, Ind.

The men scored 433 as they ran against 30 teams in the 8 km race.

Leading the way was junior Seth Hutchinson, who finished 50th with a time of 32:41.

Behind him were freshman Joe Parker (80th, 33:28), sophomore Ray Armstrong (96th, 33:57), seniors Matt Cornwell (97th, 33:58) and Kyle Bowman (110th, 34:15).

Wisconsin won the men’s championship with 49 points as they placed five runners in the top 20.

On the women’s side, the Flashes had 463 points facing 32 teams.

Senior Molly Hammer finished first for the women’s team and placed 20th overall with a time of 21:49.

In what was the last meet of the season and her last meet for college cross country, Hammer finished seconds away from qualifying for the NCAA Nationals.

“It was frustrating,” Hammer said. “Even though I didn’t make it, I gave it everything I had. I have no regrets.”

Also placing for the women was junior Stephanie Blackstone (82nd, 23:29), senior Jeanna Fascione (89th, 23:09), freshman Sarah McCort (108th, 23:39) and junior Tiffany Brenneman (164th, 24:40).

Michigan won the 6 km women’s championship with 52 points and placed three runners in the top 10.

Mark Croghan, Kent State cross country coach, said he was happy with what he said was an improvement over the team’s last race at the MAC Championships.

“I thought we really stepped up,” Croghan said. “All you can ask is to go out and put forth your best effort.”

The competition was much tougher than in previous meets. The women ran with five of the top 30 teams in the national poll, while the men were up against four nationally ranked teams.

“It was a tough course,” Croghan said. “It was definitely one of the toughest regions to qualify for the NCAA Nationals.”

The Flashes would have had to place in the top five to move on to the nationals, a feat only accomplished by the 1974 and 1975 men’s teams.

“Both teams are a little disappointed,” Croghan said. “We would have liked to have our pack a little closer.”

This is Croghan’s second meet traveling with the team after being named coach last month. He said he is still in the stage of getting to know all of the players, but he is excited to assume a greater role with the distance runners in the upcoming indoor and outdoor track seasons.

“I’m excited because the athletes we have on both sides are fierce competitors,” he said, “and that’s something you can’t coach.”

Contact cross country reporter Sean Ammerman at [email protected].