Cross country ‘disappointed’ at All-Ohio

Sean Ammerman

The men’s and women’s cross country teams tested their legs against more than 40 Ohio colleges this Friday at the All-Ohio Cross Country Championships.

The men’s team placed fifth with a score of 139 and the women placed ninth with a score of 300 while competing for state bragging rights at the meet in Delaware, OH.

Leading the way for the men was junior Seth Hutchinson, placing 13th with a time of 26:24.

Following closely behind was senior Ray Armstrong (27th, 26:51), freshman Joe Parker (30th, 26:53), senior Kyle Bowman (31st, 26:53) and freshman Dan Klatt (38th, 27:02).

Molly Hammer led the women again, fresh off being named Kent State Athlete of the Week. She placed eighth with a time of 18:37.

Finishing after her was junior Stephanie Blackstone (17th, 19:07), freshman Brittany Durkin (77th, 20:03), junior Tiffany Brenneman (82nd, 20:09) and freshman Tasha Modranski (116th, 20:48).

Despite a relatively strong finish, neither team was happy with its performance.

“It was pretty disappointing,” Bowman said. “Going into it, we thought we would do a lot better.”

Bill Lawson, Kent State track and field coach, agreed the teams did not meet their potential, but he said he saw some improvements on the women’s side from last week’s Lakefront Invitational.

“Blackstone ran much closer to Hammer and cut that elapsed time down,” he said, “but we still have an (overall) elapsed time of over 2 minutes for the women.” Lawson said he wants it to be under a minute for the Mid-American Conference Championships.

The good news for the women’s team is two of their top runners, seniors Melinda Kiss and Jeanna Fascione, are now back from injuries and are practicing.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll have (Kiss and Fascione) for the MAC championship,” Lawson said. “Whether they will be 100 percent is still in question.”

Lawson is confident the experience from these two, who were on last year’s conference championship team, will give a much needed spark.

For the men, this was their first meet in two weeks. They used their time off to intensify their workouts, which Lawson said may have affected their times.

“My legs were really cramped up,” Bowman said. “It was not a good day.”

The course was especially hard for the runners because of rain and muddy conditions. Bowman said several runners were slipping on the course’s 90 degree turns.

“It rained all day,” Bowman said. “It was like running on sand in some spots.”

The All-Ohio Championships gave the Flashes a chance to face five of their opponents from the MAC, giving them a good warm-up for the MAC Championship on Oct. 29.

Ohio University was the only MAC team to beat the men. The women finished behind conference foes Akron, Bowling Green, Miami and Ohio.

Cross-town rivals Akron took first overall in the women’s race with 71 points, while Ohio State took first place in the men’s race with 64.

The men’s and women’s next meet is the Pre-NCAA Invitational in Terra Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Oct. 15.

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