Case Western Reserve University’s varsity cross country squads placed fourth out of 25 teams in the women’s 5K race and fifth out of 21 teams in the men’s 8K race at the annual Knight Invite at Calvin College last Saturday. Spartan men ended with 135 points, behind Aquinas College’s 124, University of Saint Francis’s 109 and Calvin College’s 27.
Spartan men, for the first time in recent history, were led by a freshman. Sam Merriman from Middlesex, Vt., who finished in 18th place (26:05.2), was followed by junior Timothy Travitz (Salisbury, Md.), the most experienced member of the team, and junior captain Tony Spalding (South Bend, Ind.) who finished in 25th (26:13.6) and 28th (26:19.5) place respectively.
Senior Kristen Ruckstuhl (Mentor, Ohio), team captain and all-region honoree, led the Lady Spartans in 13th place (18:58.4), jumping 11 spots from last year’s Knight Invitational, where she placed 24th. She was followed by sophomore Olivia Zabrodsky (Jamestown, N.Y.) in 24th place with a time of 19:11.9 and junior Kelsey Aamoth (Solon, Ohio) in 25th with a time of 19:12.2.
The Spartans’ scores were rounded out by sophomores Galen Caldwell (Seattle, Wash., 31st) and Lou Takahashi (Columbus, Ohio, 48th) in the men’s competition. Freshman Danielle Kulpins (Brookfield, Wis., 35th) and junior Dana Jeter (Eden Prairie, Minn., 52nd) rounded out the women’s competition.
The women’s cross country squad is currently ranked nationally at 34 in Division III play. Both teams’ next official run will be at the All-Ohio Intercollegiate Championship on Oct. 3, at Cedarville University, and will be running the annual Alumni Run on Sept. 27.