Senior Terefe Ejigu took first in the 322-person field at the 32nd Auto-Owners Spartan Invitational this past weekend for the second consecutive year. Ejigu took the title with a pace of 4:56, which allowed him to finish 10 seconds ahead of the second place finisher. Ejigu's win is more impressive as Eastern Michigan runners competed against four teams, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Central Michigan, were all ranked higher than EMU in the Great Lakes regional poll.
Sophomore Kayla Whitlow captured her first individual title, finishing first among 59 harriers at the Buffalo Stampede Invitational with a 5K personal-record time of 17:54.90. Following Whitlow's lead, the Zips placed all five runners in the top 10 overall en route to winning their second consecutive race this fall.
Other MAC Men’s Cross Country Nominations
Kyle Wheeler, Akron
Junior, Green, Ohio (Green)
Event: Buffalo Stampede Invitational (8K)
Finish in Event: 3rd
Finishing Time: 25:22.50
Junior Kyle Wheeler was the Zips' top finisher on the men's side for the second straight week, placing third at the Buffalo Stampede Invitational with a tie of 25:35.50. Fueled by Wheeler's mark, Akron finished runner-up to the host Bulls while defeating Colgate, Robert Morris, Bowling Green and Niagara.
Zach Ahart, Buffalo
Junior, Wheatfield, NY
Previous School: Starpoint HS
Event: UB Stampede Invite
Finish in Event: 2nd of 80
Finishing Time: 25:19.2 (8K)
Additional Information: Ahart was UB's top finisher at the Stampede Invitational as the Bulls won the team title for the second straight year. Ahart finished second overall in 25:19.2, his fastest time since last season's Stampede meet where he also finished second. The Bulls placed three runners among the top five placers to earn the team title with 28 points to second-place Akron's 39.
Kyle Stacks, Central Michigan
Sophomore | Concord, Mich. / Concord HS
Stacks finished ninth in 25:07 in his first 8k of the season at the Spartan Invitational on Friday.
Michael Heller, Kent State
Senior, Stow, Ohio (Stow)
Event: Iona Meet of Champions – 8k
Finish in Event: 1st
Finishing Time: 25:22.26
Senior Michael Heller took first-place at the Iona Meet of Champions Saturday (Sept. 15) morning at Van Cortlandt Park for his second individual title in as many races to kickoff the 2012 campaign. Heller completed the course in 25:22.26, which was 4.72 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Kent State finished fourth in a race that featured two nationally-ranked schools, No. 8 Iona and No. 28 Columbia, as well as a handful of regionally-ranked squads. The Golden Flashes are currently No. 14 in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region rankings.
Steve Kiplagat, Miami
Redshirt Senior, Iten, Kenya (St. Lawrence University)
Event: Commodore Classic (Vanderbilt/Nashville, Tenn.)
Finish: 5th place
Redshirt senior Steve Kiplagat placed fifth at the Commodore Classic, hosted by Vanderbilt, Saturday, leading Miami to a runner-up finish. Running his first 8K as a RedHawk, the transfer from St. Lawrence clocked a time of 24:47.34 to be Miami’s top scorer. He was just 11 seconds behind the race winner in a talented field of 197 runners, trailing only a runner from Western Kentucky, one from Tennessee and two from 27th-ranked Eastern Kentucky, who won the race. The meet had a total of 24 teams competing, including seven SEC schools and two nationally ranked teams, one of which Miami beat (No. 30 Georgia was fourth), while Kiplagat helped the ‘Hawks finish ahead of all seven SEC teams. It was his first time being Miami’s top scorer after scoring second in his first race as a RedHawk.
Other MAC Women’s Cross Country Nominations
Abby Koch, Bowling Green
RS Junior, NA
UB Stampede Invitational
Finish in Event: Third
Finishing Time: 18:03.9
Koch continued to run well in 2012, finishing third in the UB Stampede Invitational 5K this past weekend. Koch’s time of 18:03.09 set a new personal best for the Stow, Ohio native, edging out her time of 18:07 at the Mel Brodt Invitational in 2010. Koch helped the women place second out of five teams, collecting a team score of 59, and a cumulative time of 1:32:12.15. The Falcons edged out MAC foe Buffalo, while Akron took the top spot with a team score of 20, and a time of 1:30:15.2. Robert Morris and Niagara finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Shelby Janutol, Buffalo
Senior, Troy, MI (Troy HS/Ferris State)
Event: UB Stampede Invite
Finish in Event: 7th of 59
Finishing Time: 18:08.1 (5K)
Additional information: Janutol, racing in her first meet with the Bulls after three seasons at Division II Ferris State, completed the 5K course in 18:08.1. At Ferris State, Janutol competed in last season’s NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championships.
Krista Parks, Central Michigan
Junior | Kentwood, Mich. / East Kentwood HS
Parks finished 22nd in 21:55 in her first 6k race of the season at the Spartan Invitational on Friday.
Jess Hoover, Miami
Sophomore, Hilliard, Ohio (Hilliard Davidson)
Event: Spartan Invitational (Michigan State/East Lansing, Mich.)
Finish: 14th place
Sophomore Jess Hoover was Miami’s top finisher for the second straight meet Friday at the 6K Spartan Invitational, her first 6K of the year, finishing in 14th place in 21:45. She finished behind only runners from No. 11 Michigan, No. 13 Michigan State, Ohio State and one runner from Northwestern, as she finished 10 seconds ahead of Central Michigan's Krista Parks, who was the second individual from the MAC to cross the line among the three MAC teams competing (WMU and CMU). Hoover improved six places from last year’s Spartan Invite even with a deeper field than the 2011 Spartan Invitational. Hoover was running in a field of 309 individuals with 28 colleges and universities represented.