Men’s and women’s teams each take first place at home meet

Sean Ammerman

Freshman Tasha Modranski receives 10th place out of 41 in the 2005 Kent State Course Classic held Friday at the Kent State Golf Course. Kent won first place, defeating Akron, Cleveland State and Tiffin. The men’s cross country team won first place, defe

Credit: Steve Schirra

The men’s and women’s cross country teams were both cheered to victories Friday at the Kent State Short Course Classic.

In an atmosphere that was low-key and positive, track and field coach Bill Lawson said the teams took advantage of their only home meet of the season at the Kent State Golf Course.

The men won with 20 points, and had seven runners in the top 10, easily beating out second place Tiffin, who had 56 points.

Junior Seth Hutchinson finished first overall at 15:36. Behind him were freshman Joe Parker, junior Ray Armstrong, senior Richard Cornwell, freshman Tony Jordanek and senior Kyle Bowman placing third, fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively.

The women nearly equaled the men’s performance – winning with a score of 27. Their closest competition was Mid American Conference rival Akron, which came in second with a score of 51.

The women had five runners in the top 10 with senior Molly Hammer finishing first overall at 10:35. Also placing for the women were junior Stephanie Blackstone and freshmen Sarah McCort, Brittany Durkin and Tasha Modranski at fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively.

“It was pretty much a sea of Kent State runners at both the men’s and women’s side at the finish,” Lawson said.

Lawson said the race served as a “tune-up” for the team as they get ready for the MAC Championship next Saturday. Both the men and women were running at a more relaxed pace on a course that was relatively easy he said.

“I think it was just the right thing,” Lawson said. “They need to do a little bit of racing but also get what I call acting rest.”

Both of the teams have had disappointing races in the past month. The men placed a dismal 29th at the Pre-NCAA Invitational on Oct. 15, and the women a disappointing 17th at the Lakefront Invitational on Oct. 1. Lawson said the Short Course Classic was a good way for the team to build up confidence after the races.

“I think their morale is much, much improved from the last couple of weeks,” Lawson said. “Any time you go in and dominate a race, which was what (Kent State) did, that’s going to push your confidence no matter what the level you’re running up against.”

Lawson said he expects to keep practices lighter this week to keep the team fresher for Saturday when the season boils down to its most important meet with the MAC Championship in Dekalb, Ill.

Blackstone said most of her training is over. She said she just wants to concentrate on getting sleep and eating right this week.

“At this point in the game . . . you can’t pound yourself into the ground with workouts,” she said. “It’s what you did in the summer and the early preseason that’s affecting you right now.”

Lawson said he expects seniors Melinda Kiss and Jeanna Fascione, who have been injured all season, to race with the team Saturday. Both were a part of last year’s conference championship team.

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