Men finish first, women third at cross country Invitational

Sean Ammerman

The Kent State men’s cross country team made it two first place finishes in a row Saturday at the Red Flash Invitational, while the women showed strong improvement by placing third.

The men out-performed 11 other teams at the meet, which was hosted by Saint Francis in Loretto, Pa., and proved they are a viable contender for the Mid-American Conference Championship.

The men placed five runners in the top 10 with a team score of 24.

In a sport where fewer points are better, Kent State was just nine points shy of the best possible score of 15.

Brad Hunt, Kent State’s interim cross country coach, said it was the best performance he has seen from the men since he began coaching at Kent State.

“That’s got to be by far the most dominant display of depth and talent,” Hunt said. “They’re setting themselves up to have one of their most memorable seasons.”

Leading the way was junior Seth Hutchinson who placed second with a time of 25:54. He was only 15 seconds behind first place finisher Ryan Sheehan of Saint Francis. Sheehan was a NCAA national qualifier in 2004.

“Not too far away to be from a guy who’s considered one of the best distance runners in college,” Hunt said.

Also placing for the men was senior Kyle Bowman, freshmen Joe Parker and Dan Klatt and junior Jessie Armbruster in third, fifth, sixth and eighth places respectively.

The women also had an excellent showing with a team score of 76, not far behind first place Saint Francis (52) and second place Sacred Heart University (68).

“We looked like a much improved team from a week ago,” Hunt said. “At the same time we have a long way to go.”

Senior Molly Hammer, who placed first last week at the Miami Invitational, led the way for the women again placing second Saturday with a time of 18:02.

Following her was junior Stephanie Blackstone, freshmen Brittany Durkin and Sarah McCort and junior Tiffany Brenneman placing seventh, 16th, 23rd and 28th respectively.

The improvement from last week’s fifth place team finish looks to be a step in the right direction for the women to defend their MAC title from a year ago, Hunt said.

“It was encouraging for both teams,” Hunt said. “They’re many more exciting things yet to come.”

All this success came on a course that Hunt described as the most challenging the teams will see.

“Some people may call what we ran on more like mountains than hills,” Hunt said.

The next meet for the men’s and women’s teams is the Lakefront Invitational on Oct. 1 in Chicago.

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