MAC Cross Country Championship Preview

Updated 11/1/2013

Information reguarding the MAC Cross Country Championships click HERE

 

Courtesy of MAC Athletic Communication Departments

Akron

AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron men's and women's cross country teams will begin postseason competition Saturday at the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championships, hosted by Bowling Green State University.
 
The men's 8-kilometer race will begin at 11 a.m., with the women's 6-kilometer to follow at Noon.
 
All 12 MAC schools will be represented in the women's field while nine member institutions will send send teams to the men's competition. Eastern Michigan claimed its 17th men's title at last season's championship meet in Buffalo, N.Y., while Toledo won its third straight women's crown and fifth overall.
 
The Zips men's team will be looking to add to what has already been a historic season for the program. The Akron harriers captured the All-Ohio Championship for the first time since 1963 on Oct. 4 and enter the weekend as a legitimate contender for the league title.
 
UA matched its best ever finish at the MAC Championships a year ago and there is reason to believe a better result is possible this weekend based on individual performances this fall.
 
Freshman Clayton Murphy, who has been Akron's top finisher in three of four races, and senior Brad Hough, who is a two-time All-MAC First Team honoree, are expected to lead the way in what could be a tightly-contested competition with favorite Eastern Michigan and challenger Miami. Other key contributors from the men's team include freshman Dan Zupan and sophomores Trevor Norris and Kyle Cochrun.
 
While Toledo enters the meet as the favorite on the women's side, the Zips women will attempt to improve on their sixth-place finish from a year ago. Leading the way for UA will be juniors Kayla Whitlow, who was the team's top finisher at the Pre-National meet, and Jillian Roth, who led the team with a 29th-place finish at the All-Ohio Championships.
 
 
 
Ball State
 
MUNCIE, Ind. - - Months of preparation culminate Saturday at Noon for the Ball State cross country team when it approaches the start line for the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championship Meet hosted by Bowling Green at the Forrest Creason Golf Course in Bowling Green, Ohio.
 
The 6K meet is setting up to be one of the best in recent memory as three MAC squads appear in the top 10 of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Regional Rankings with three-time defending race champion and seventh-ranked Toledo leading the pack.
 
In its only 6K meet so far this season, Ball State placed third out of four teams at the season-opening IPFW Invitational (Sept. 7) with five runners posting career-best efforts.
 
In its second meet of the year, seven BSU runners posted career-best efforts at the Mel Brodt Collegiate Opener at a shortened 5K event at BGSU’s Forrest Creason Golf Course. Five of those career-best efforts still stand, while seven Ball State runners have season-best efforts from the race.
 
Ball State’s top runner entering the 2013 MAC Championships is junior Courtney Edon (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) who owns the Cardinals’ top 5K (18:35.35) and 6K (23:12.28) times this season.
 
At last year's league meet, hosted by Buffalo at the Beaver Island State Park, the Cardinals' top five runners combined for an average 6K time of 23:15.0 and posted a combined score of 267.
 
Edon is Ball State’s top returning active runner from last year’s league meet, as she placed 45th in the event with a career-best 6K time of 22:49.4.
 
The only other active returning runner from last season’s league meet is Edon’s twin sister Caitlynn Edon (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) who finished 78th with a career-best effort of 24:14.5.

 

Bowling Green

Bowling Green, Ohio – BGSU Athletics will host the Mid-American Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday at 11 am on the campus of Bowling Green State University. The race will take place at Forrest Creason Golf Course, with the men's race starting at 11 am and the women's race at noon. Admission is free to all spectators.
 
RACE DETAILS
The men will compete in an 8,000-meter race to open the event, followed by the women's 6,000-meter competition. Full information is available online via the MAC Championship website at: http://www.mac-sports.com/Championships/2013CrossCountry.aspx
 
LAST TIME OUT
The Bowling Green women's team last ran at the Indiana State Pre-National Championship, competing on the same course that the NCAA National Championships will be run on. Six of the eight competitors set new personal bests at 6000 meters, including sophomore Andrea Alt, who placed a team-best 22nd overall in 21:46.02. The men's team competed at the Eastern Michigan Fall Classic and four of the five runners set new personal bests at 5000 meters. Greg Black had the team's top finish, placing 20th in 15:42.3 seconds.
 
ALT LEADS THE WAY
Andrea Alt finished as Bowling Green's top runner in all three meets she competed in this year, finishing second overall at the All-Ohio Championships and 18th at the Mel Brodt Invitational in Bowling Green. In the team's last meet at Indiana State, she placed 22nd overall, setting a new personal best time of 21:46.02 over 6,000 meters. The redshirt sophomore has developed into the anchor of the Falcon cross country team.
 
SALYER ON TOP
Senior Jason Salyer has competed in a lot of races for the Falcons during his time at Bowling Green, but he still set personal bests in back-to-back 8,000-meter races. At the All-Ohio Championships, he posted a time of 25:10.64 to finished third out of 289 runners and then followed that up with a time of 24:56.94 to place seventh out of 135 at the Indiana State Pre-National Meet.
 
EVERY RACE IS ANOTHER BEST
Redshirt freshmen Mackenzie McMillin has set a new personal best in every race she has competed in this year, culminating with a time of 22:56.70 at the Indiana State Pre-National Meet for 6,000 meters. She has also finished among the team's top five runners in every race this year. Freshmen Brittney Darah and Rachel Durbin did not compete in the season-opening meet, but they have set personal bests in each of the past three meets.
 
BLACK LIKES YPSILANTI
Junior Greg Black has been the Falcons' top finisher twice this year, once at the EMU Open to begin the season and then again in the EMU Fall Classic. He set 5,000-meter personal bests in both meets, placing 20th in the most recent race with a time of 15:42.3.
 
YOUTHFUL
Of the 22 runners who have competed for either the men's or women's teams this year, only two are seniors (Jason Salyer and Joe van Bolderen for the men). In fact, 12 are freshmen or redshirt freshmen and another seven are sophomores.
 
PRESEASON PREDICTIONS
In the MAC preseason coaches' poll, the BGSU women were picked to finish eighth in the MAC in 2013. The men's team was chosen to finish ninth.
 
STRONG ACADEMICALLY
Both the BGSU men's and women's cross country teams were named All-Academic Teams by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for the 2012 season.
 
 
 
Buffalo
 
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo cross country teams hit the road on Saturday for the 2013 MAC Championships being held by Bowling Green.
 
The men's team enters the Championships being led by senior Zach Ahart who has had a great final campaign for the Bulls. Ahart has recorded the best finishes on the team in all three meets he has competed in this year. Ahart collected a victory at the UB Stampede and followed that up with a 13th place finish last weekend at the Princeton Invitational.
 
The Bulls will be aiming to improve on their fifth place finish a year ago. The depth will be a strength for the Bulls this year as Cameron Bruce, Austin Coneys, Alec Peinkofer and Bobby Swick will look to bring home a MAC title.
 
On the women's side, Chrissy Clarkin has paced the Bulls all season long and she will aim to continue this trend at the Championships. Clarkin recorded her best finish of the season, first place, at the UB Stampede Invite and also earned a second place finish at the Harry Lang Invitational to kick off the season.
 
Gabby Leo, Caroline Brown, Corinne Birchard and Melinda Wheeler will look to help the Bulls improve on their seventh place finish at the MAC Championships last season.
 
This year's MAAC Championships will feature 12 women's teams and nine men's teams. All the action will kick off at 11 am on Saturday, November 2 in Bowling Green, Ohio.

 

Central Michigan

MOUNT PLEASANT, MIch. - The men’s and women’s cross country teams begin their championship season Saturday with the Mid-American Conference Championship Meet in Bowling Green, Ohio, hosted by Bowling Green State University.
 
Held at the relatively flat Forrest Creason Golf Course the men’s 8k race is set to begin at 11 a.m., while the women’s 6k competition will go at noon.
 
Last year, the women placed fourth and the men placed second at the MAC Championships. The men’s team has finished runner-up at the past two MAC Championship meets.
 
The women’s squad enters the weekend ranked 10th in the most recent US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Great Lakes Region rankings, and is the third-ranked MAC team in the region. Toledo (seventh), enters as the favorite, while Miami (OH) (eighth), Ohio (13th) are also ranked among the MAC.
 
Senior Krista Parks will look to lead the pack for the women. Parks has been the top female finisher for the Chippewas in all five of the meets this season.
 
“I’m pretty excited to see where we go, because I think we are a better team than we were last year on the women’s side.” Associate head coach, Matt Kaczor said. “This is stepping stone for them, we are a quality top-ten team in the region and that’s nothing to be disappointed about.”
 
The men’s team enters the weekend 13th in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region rankings, making them the fourth-ranked MAC team behind Eastern Michigan (ninth), Miami (OH) (10th) and Akron (11th).
 
Sophomore Nate Ghena and junior Ethan Lievense have led the way for the Chippewas this season, finishing one-two in each of their races since the Spartan Invitational, the second race of the season.
 
“It comes down to what kind of pride we have, it’s going to be a tight meet,” Kaczor said. “It’s going to be fun, having a tight competition of teams where you don’t know coming in who is going to be your clear-cut favorite. Any team one through five has a shot at winning.”
 
 
 
Eastern Michigan
 
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) — The Eastern Michigan University women's cross country team will make the short trip to Bowling Green, Ohio, to take part in the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championships on Saturday, Nov. 2. 
 
The squad will return to run a familiar course, as Bowling Green State University was the site of the Mel Brodt Collegiate Opener, in which the Eagles competed on Sept. 13.  The 6,000-meter race will pit the 12 teams in the conference against each other to claim the MAC Championship title, the individual MAC champion title, and the All-MAC Team selections.  
 
Last year, Eastern nabbed a fifth-place finish with 144 points, led by then-sophomore Victoria Voronko (Stavropol, Russia-School #42), who also recieved All-MAC First Team honors.  The University of Toledo won by a commanding margin of 57 points over second-place Miami University for its third team title in-a-row as five of its harriers landed in the top-10 of the field. 
 
EMU returns two other runners who competed in the 2012 MAC Championships with senior Kayla Pfund (Shelby Twp., Mich.-Lutheran North) and sophomore Rebecca Quaintance (Commerce, Mich.-Walled Lake Northern).  Pfund finished in the top-20 with her time of 22:16.2. 
 
Eastern Michigan University's men's cross country team is on the hunt for another Mid-American Conference Championship title, and will have the opportunity to bring that goal to fruition, Saturday, Nov. 2 in Bowling Green, Ohio. 
 
Backed by a history of tradition and excellence, the Eagles have won 17 MAC Championship titles since 1973.  An additional title on Saturday would put Head Coach John Goodridge on par with legendary EMU head coach Bob Parks, who accrued nine team titles during his 33-year tenure.  Now in his 13th year at the helm of the cross country program, Goodridge is closing in on Parks's record. 
 
Last year, the Eagles won the 2012 MAC Championship title for the third season in-a-row behind the 1-2 finish of Terefe Ejigu and then-sophomore Daryl Smith (Windsor, Ontario-Vincent Massey S.S.).  Harry Dixon (Nelson, New Zealand-Nayland College), Willy Fink (Maumee, Ohio-Maumee), and Warren Witchell (Williamstar, Mich.-Dansville) also landed in the top-25 of the meet.  The squad beat runner-up Central Michigan University by a margin of 13 points. 
 
This year, the team will feature five returning runners from the 2012 MAC Championships, including four-of-five scorers.  Smith, Dixon, Fink, and Witchell will return to represent the Green and White along with redshirt-junior Ian Hancke (Haslett, Mich.-Haslett).  Rounding out the squad will be this week's MAC Runner of the Week senior Grzegorz Kalinowski (Torun, Poland-Nicolaus Copernicus University), junior Cameron Trinh (Oakland, Calif.-Skyline), and freshmen John Knox (Gloversville, N.Y.-Gloversville) and Nick Raymond (Erie, Mich.-Mason).

 

Kent State

KENT, Ohio - The Kent State University men's and women's cross country team travels to Bowling Green for the Mid-American Conference Cross Country Championships on Saturday.  The race will take place at Forrest Creason Golf Course, with the men beginning at 11 a.m., and the women's race starting at noon.
 
The men will compete in an 8,000-kilometer race to open the event, followed by the women's 6,000k competition.  More information can be found online on the MAC Championship website.
 
All 12 MAC schools will be represented in the women's field while nine member institutions will send  teams to the men's competition. Eastern Michigan claimed its 17th men's title at last season's championship meet in Buffalo, N.Y., while Toledo won its third straight women's crown and fifth overall.
 
Last season, the Kent State men finished sixth overall with 164 points in the team standings, as Michael Heller led the way with a third-place finish (24:50.0).   The women placed ninth with 213 points,, and were led by Alexandria Vintevoghel with a 23rd place finish. 
 
The Golden Flashes men are coming off a seventh place finish at the NCAA Pre-Nationals hosted in Terre Haute, Ind., and were led by junior Matt Kahl.  Kahl crossed the finish line in 11th place out of the 135 participants with a time of 25:13.14.   The women finished in 32nd place, as Rachel Slingluff led the way with a 94th place time of 22:40.95.
 
 
 
Miami
 
OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami University men’s cross country team will battle for the 2013 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship Saturday morning. The RedHawks will complete the 8K race at 11 a.m. on Bowling Green State University’s Forrest Creason Golf Course.
 
The Red and White had a week off from competition last week, after competing at the 2013 Pre-National Invitational hosted by Indiana State University. Miami competed against 50 nationally and regionally ranked teams, finishing 44th overall.
 
Senior Dave Wing was Miami’s top finisher at Pre-Nationals, finishing 83rd in 24:29.65. Besides being the team’s top finisher for the fifth consecutive time, he was the first MAC runner to complete the race.
 
Wing has led the RedHawks in all five of their regular-season meets, earning the MAC Runner of the Week award four times this season. The senior will be looked to lead the Red and White in Saturday’s conference meet.
 
Following Wing, junior Daniel Garleb came in as Miami’s second scorer at Pre-Nationals, finishing in 197th with a personal-best 25:10.17. Senior Matt Marol was Miami’s third finisher, taking 239th in 25:22.96, followed by freshman Stephen Biebelhausen who placed 247th in 25:26.22. Freshman Kent Ford was the team’s final scorer after placing 302nd in 25:56.39.
 
The RedHawks were the second MAC team to finish the championship race at Pre-Nationals, following the Central Michigan Chippewas. Miami placed higher than Eastern Michigan and Akron, who were both ranked higher than Miami in the Great Lakes Region leading up to the meet.
 
Miami will enter the MAC Championship now ranked tenth in the Great Lakes Region, one spot behind conference foe Eastern Michigan who is ranked ninth. Akron sits behind Miami in 11th, followed by Central Michigan who is ranked 13th. Ohio is the final MAC school with a regional ranking, sitting in 14th.
 
In last year’s MAC Championship, the RedHawks tied Akron for third with 73 points. Eastern Michigan won the championship for a third straight time with 59 points, followed by Central Michigan who edged out both Miami and Akron for second with 72 points.
 
Alumnus Steve Kiplagat was the top scorer for Miami, finishing fourth overall in 24:56.5. Alumnus Jarrod Eick placed eighth overall in 25:02.3, while Wing came in as Miami’s third scorer, finishing tenth overall in 25:17.3. Garleb was the team’s fourth scorer, crossing the finish line in 25th in 25:37.9, edging out teammate Joe Stewart who finished 26th in 25:39.4.
 
The Red and White will return to action Friday, Nov. 15 for the Great Lakes Regional Championship in Madison, Wisc. Miami will race at 2 p.m. in an effort to gain a spot at the 2013 NCAA Championship November 23. 
 
The Miami University women’s cross country team will put all their training and endurance to the test at the 2013 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship Saturday afternoon. The women’s 6K race will begin at 12 p.m. on Bowling Green State University’s Forrest Creason Golf Course.
 
The RedHawks will race on familiar ground this weekend after competing on the same course at the Mel Brodt Collegiate Invitational earlier this season. Junior Jess Hoover paced Miami against conference foes Toledo, Bowling Green, Ball State and Eastern Michigan, placing third overall in 17:11.91.
 
Given that Hoover has paced the RedHawks in all five of their regular-season meets, she is looked to lead the team in Saturday's conference meet. The junior started the year with a first-place finish at the 2013 Miami Invitational, and has gained momentum throughout the season. At the 2013 Pre-National Invitational hosted by Indiana State University October 19, Hoover completed the race as the MAC’s second finisher in a career-high 21:00.34.
 
Hoover will race alongside teammates Melissa Girgis, Elisa Frazier, Julia Valencia, Anna Lamb, Laura Bess, Alex Chitwood, Brenna Poulsen, and Mattie Moncayo in the hopes of earning the 2013 MAC title. Based on their performances this season, head coach Kelly Phillips said they’re up for the challenge.
 
“They just have to run smart,” Phillips said. “They’re fit, they’re ready…they can’t be anymore ready physically.”
 
At last year’s MAC Championship, the RedHawk women finished runner-up with 81 points behind the Toledo Rockets, who won the meet for a third consecutive time with a league record 24 points.
 
Four Miami runners placed in the top 20, beginning with alumna Monica Fischer, who finished tenth overall. Hoover was the team’s second finisher, placing 15th in 22:11.0, followed by Frazier who placed two spots behind Hoover in 22:11.9. Senior Erica Howes was Miami’s fourth scorer in 18th with a time of 22:15.1, and Poulsen rounded out the team’s scorers in 25th in 22:22.8.
 
Similar to last season, Miami sits behind Toledo in the regional poll, ranked eighth in the Great Lakes Region, while Toledo is ranked seventh. Two other MAC schools hold regional rankings, including Central Michigan who is tenth and Ohio University who sits in 13th.  Toledo is favored to win a fourth-straight MAC title, but Phillips said there is no reason her team can’t upset the Rockets.
 
“Honestly, they don’t have any (challenges),” Phillips said. “There’s no reason they shouldn’t run great. The weather’s going to be great, the course is great, they’re an older team now, and they have some maturity.”
 
The RedHawks will enter the MAC Championship off a strong finish at the 2013 Pre-National Invitational, where they were the second MAC team to finish the race, placing 24th out of a 49-team field with 739 points.
 
Hoover was the second MAC runner to finish the race, followed by Girgis, who placed second for the RedHawks in a personal-best 21:27.69. Bess was the team’s third scorer, also in a personal-best 21:56.54, followed by Valencia who finished with a season-high 22:03.31. Frazier was the fifth and final scorer for the Red and White, finishing with a season-high 22:10.16.
 
Following the MAC Championship, the RedHawks will compete at the Great Lakes Regional Championship in Madison, Wis. Friday, Nov. 15, where they will battle for a spot in the NCAA Championship November 23.

 

Western Michigan

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Looking to finish out the season strong, the Western Michigan cross country team heads to Bowling Green State University for Saturday's Mid-American Conference Championships. 
 
The women's 6k race begins at noon after the conclusion of the men's 8k race. The Broncos will send out a race lineup of Ann Marie Arseneau, Rachel Figurski, Alex Forsythe, Claire Gilbert, Aisha Hodge, Amy Littlefield, Teresa Marin, Becca Peacock and Daya Wagh. For freshmen Gilbert, Littlefield and Wagh it will be their career MAC Championship appearances. Arseneau also makes her MAC Championship debut after transferring in from Grand Valley State. The course is a relatively flat trek around BGSU's on-campus golf course. 
 
Peacock had a breakout race in her debut at the MAC Championship last season, finishing as WMU's top runner for the first time that season with a time of 23:16.5. She even got the best of Hodge, who like this season, was the top finisher in every race fro the Broncos last year. 
 
The Broncos will also be gunning for their first All-MAC spot since Samantha Drainey claimed Second Team All-MAC after finishing ninth in 2010. To earn All-MAC a student-athlete must finish in the top 14 of the race, with the first seven earning first team honors.
 
After the MAC Championship Western Michigan gets a week off before heading to the University of Wisconsin for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship.
 
 
 
Toledo

TOLEDO, OH – As the three-time defending Mid-American Conference champion and preseason favorite to grab this year's crown, the Toledo women's cross country team will try to capture the program's sixth overall title and its first under head coach Linh Nguyen. With a victory, UT will become the first MAC women’s cross country team to win four-consecutive conference titles since Bowling Green from 1980-83.

The UT cross country teams will run in the 2013 MAC Championship Meet on Saturday, Nov. 2 hosted by Bowling Green. The men’s 8K race is set to begin at 11:00 a.m., while the women’s 6K is scheduled for noon.

"I’m excited for my first MAC championship this weekend," Nguyen said. "Our women are healthy and have been looking very good in practice over the last month. I feel that things are coming together and we’re ready to run well. The women are highly motivated to continue the streak of MAC titles."

Junior Brooke Tullis (Maumee, OH) has led the Rockets this season, finishing as the team’s top performer at three meets. She finished 69th at the NCAA Pre-National Meet to pace Toledo to a 14th place finish, defeating two teams ranked in the top 20 nationally.

Tullis will be joined by senior Devyn Ramsay (Benzonia, MI), redshirt senior Kristal Studer (Bright, IN), juniors Mackenzie Chojnacky (Jerome, ID), Priscilla Timmons (Vancouver, WA), Liz Weiler (Mentor, OH) and Megan Wright (Miamisburg, OH) and sophomore Theresa Warsecke (Benzonia, MI) at this weekend’s race. Timmons, Weiler and Wright each finished in the top 10 at the Mel Brodt Collegiate Opener in September, and Wright was the team’s second finisher at the Paul Short Run. Warsecke also had a second-place finish at the EMU Triangular.

The UT women won the 2012 MAC Championship in historic fashion, with a record-breaking score of 24 points, besting their mark of 33 points in 2011. Eight of nine runners were awarded All-MAC honors, including First-Team All-MAC selections Wright, Weiler and Tullis.

The UT men’s cross country team will try to improve on last year’s eighth-place finish at the MAC Championships. The team has progressed this season, culminating in a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Pre-Nationals, led by juniors Hillary Serem (Eldoret,Kenya) and Jake Kasperski (Farmersville, OH) who both finished in the top 50.

Serem, Kasperski, seniors Ricky Adamson (Sylvania, OH), Nick Brenner (Stow, OH) and Trevin Flickinger (Defiance, OH), junior Adam Smercina (Oak Harbor, OH) and sophomores Adam Bess (Oregon, OH), Nick Costello (Brighton, MI) and Thomas Gibbons (Oregon, OH) will compete on Saturday morning for the men.

"The men are fit as well and I think ready for a solid performance," Nguyen said. "We’ve been talking all season about raising the level of expectations and performance for the men’s program and this will be an opportunity for them to take that first step. I think we have a bright future in the men’s program."

Both teams hope to use the familiarity with the course to their advantage. The Rockets raced at the Mel Brodt Collegiate Opener hosted by Bowling Green on Friday, Sept. 13, which featured nearly identical courses to Saturday’s MAC Championship races.

 

Northern Illinois

DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University cross country team begins their postseason schedule Saturday when they head to Bowling Green, Ohio, for the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championship.
 
The women's 6K championship race begins at 11 a.m. CT on the Forest Creason Golf Course.
 
"Our team and staff are excited for the opportunity to compete at the MAC Championship and show just how far we've come over the past year," said NIU head coach Greg Hipp. "We feel confident that we can make a big move up within the MAC this weekend and our ladies are prepared for the challenge."
 
The Huskies capped their regular season two weeks ago at the Bradley Classic. Keyed by Meghan Heuer's 22nd-place finish, NIU finished with an 11th-place finish in the final team standings. Two other Huskies - Ali Olson and Leah Raffety - also finished in the top 100.
 
This weekend, the Huskies will take on the MAC's 11 other member institutions for the conference crown. Last season, NIU struggled en route to finishing in 11th place despite Courtney Oldenburg's 20th-place finish. Toledo enters the meet as the five-time defending champions. 
 
 
Ohio