Caldwell, Spartans Cross Country Team Keeps Pace with D1 & D2 Teams

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Case Western Reserve University men’s and women’s cross country teams placed 19th and 16th out of 47 at the 2015 All-Ohio Intercollegiate Championships this past Friday, Oct 2. The men’s team ran an 8K while the women’s team ran a 6K. Hosted by Cedarville University, the meet included schools spanning across all three divisions. Although the teams competed against upper division teams, both impressively placed in the upper half of teams.

Splitting the team scores by division, both teams placed in the top five with the men being 4th out of 19 teams and the women’s team finishing 5th out of 18 teams.

On the men’s side, the team displayed a strong group effort with the top seven runners all finishing under 27 minutes for their 8K, or a blistering sub-5:26-mile pace. Second-year student Sam Merriman continued his strong performance this season with a smart race, missing his season best by just 10 seconds. After crossing the two mile in 10:19 and in 104th place, Merriman quickly moved up the racing pack to finish just outside the top 50 in 25:40.

Following Merriman was a particularly impressive showing this week by junior Galen Caldwell who finished with a season best 25:57. Caldwell mainly credited teamwork to his great race this past week and said, “Working with Sam [Merriman] for the first few miles set me up right in the middle of teams we were looking to compete with.” In the middle portion of the race, heavy gusts of winds slowed the runners on straight aways. However Caldwell strategically let other runners take the wind and explained, “Finding a tall Ohio Northern University kid to draft off of helped blunt some of the wind.”

Following Caldwell was a group of five seniors to round off the top seven. Fourth-year students Tony Spalding, Chippy Kennedy, and Ben Davis battled together to finish 141st, 151st, and 162nd. Fourth-year students Timothy Travitz and Gilad Doron dipped under 27 minutes to place 199th and 218th out of a total of 647 runners.

The women’s team was led primarily by its fourth-year class. Fourth-year student Kelsey Aamoth crossed the line first for the Spartans, finishing in the top 15 with a personal record of 22:07 on the 6K. Aamoth was followed by a pack of Spartans all finishing within 40 seconds of each other. Fourth-year students Dana Jeter and Kristen Ruckstuhl led this group, finishing in 97th and 105th individually. Second-year student Danielle Kulpins and fourth-year student Lydia Greene finished in a little under 24 minutes to round off the top five for the Spartans.

Despite a disappointing loss to John Carroll University after beating them early on in the season, CWRU’s cross country team has their eyes on the national meet. Caldwell said, “Our team tends to get stronger towards the end of the season. We focus in on the races that matter for qualifying for nationals.”

The Spartans take a break this weekend and race on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Oberlin College’s Inter-Regional Rumble.