Cross Country gets a taste of upcoming UAA competition

Over fall break, Case Western Reserve University’s men’s and women’s cross country sped through the Inter-Regional Rumble at Oberlin College. The women’s team placed just out of first place while the men placed in the top-10 this past Saturday in a meet jampacked with tough competition around the area.

Battling against 31 other teams, including conference rivals New York University (NYU) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the men’s team pulled out an impressive eighth finish. Relying on Coach Kathy Lanese’s packed running style, the Spartans posted the third smallest spread among the 32 competing teams, only trailing NYU and Denison University. Only 25.1 seconds separated the first and last finishers on the team, showcasing the strong teamwork.

Led by second-year student Sam Merriman once again, the men’s team all finished in the top 100 of almost 300 runners competing. This showing represented the team’s first meet where all the men finished in under 26 minutes for the 8K, which is below a 5:15 mile pace for almost five miles. Finishing in 27th place, the Inter-Regional Rumble marked his first 8K in under 25 minutes.

Following Merriman was fourth-year student Chippy Kennedy, who also dipped under 25 minutes for the first time. Kennedy’s 31st place finish and finishing time of 24 minutes and 59 seconds demonstrates his improvement over his final season, beating his previous season best by 90 seconds.

Other personal records on the team include third-year student Galen Caldwell, who finished just behind Kennedy in 32nd place and a time of 25:01. In addition, second-year student Zach Roshon recorded a personal best of 25:20 and third-year student Gilad Doron finished with a personal best of 25:51. With five of the top seven runners on the team recording personal bests, the men’s team indicated its readiness for the big postseason meets.

On the women’s side, the team finished in second place, just behind rival CMU. Already achieving two University Athletic Association Athlete of the Week Honors this season, fourth-year student Kelsey Aamoth continues her improvement. Aamoth led the charge, finishing fifth among 244 finishers with a career-best time of 21:27 on the 6K. Fourth-year student Evy Hall continued her strong final season, finishing in just over 22 minutes in a top-20 finish. This marked a ridiculous 90 second improvement from her first 6K on the season.

Second-year student Danielle Kulpins followed right behind in 24th place and a time of 22:09. The backside of the women’s team stepped up to help the team score, all finishing in the top quarter of runners. Fourth-year students Kristen Ruckstuhl and Dana Jeter finished together in 45th and 46th place in 22:34, which marked a personal best for Jeter. Fourth-year students Lydia Greene and Veronica Cole rounded out the top seven, crossing the line in 22:38 and 22:44 right behind Ruckstuhl and Jeter.

This push from the back half of the team helped propel the team to a second place finish. Although the women’s team had an impressive showing, they look to improve headed into the conference meet and gain revenge on CMU.

The women’s and men’s team gain some much needed rest this weekend. The Spartans will be on the course again on Halloween for the conference championships at Brandeis University.