Running strong in the home stretch

Both cross country teams place sixth before championships begin

Eddie Kerekes, Sports Editor

The men’s and women’s cross country teams both finished in sixth place at the Oberlin Invitational, with seven runners achieving career best times. Case Western Reserve University’s men’s team scored 171 points while the women’s team scored 202 points for their efforts.

Leading the women was third-year student Danielle Kulpins, who finished just 10 seconds off her personal best with a time of 22:19.0. Kulpins was the 11th runner to cross the finish line, just four seconds away from a top 10 finish.

The second Spartan to finish was second-year student Jennifer Hoffmann, who came in 25th place. Hoffmann battled hard for her points as the six-kilometer race drew to a close. Finishing third in a pack of four runners, Hoffman held off third-year student Katie Vance from University of Mount Union by 0.2 seconds to secure a top 25 finish. She was a mere 0.7 seconds behind the 24th place finisher from the State University of New York College at Buffalo and missed 23rd place by only 1.4 seconds. Hoffmann’s time of 22:41.0 was the lowest mark she has ever run in her time at CWRU.

Third-year student Rachel Laveson was the next Spartan runner to cross the finish line, with a time of 23:09.6. She was the other women’s runner who set a personal best at the invitational, beating her previous mark by six seconds. Laveson held off a runner from State University of New York at Fredonia by 0.3 seconds to secure 51st place for CWRU.

Other women’s runners who earned points for the Spartans were second-year student Isa Torres-Padin (54th place), first-year student Vanessa Pasadyn (69th), first-year student Madeline Lindemann (78th) and second-year student Sophie Trikeriotis (79th).

On the men’s side, third-year student Sam Merriman finished in third place overall in the field of 275 runners with a time of 24:48.2. Merriman set a new career-best in an eight-kilometer race with the finish, one of five Spartan men to set a new personal record. He was not particularly close to second place, crossing the finish line 3.2 seconds after the runner from Wabash College.

The second CWRU finisher was fourth-year student Galen Caldwell, who placed 24th overall. It was a dash to the finish for Caldwell, as he was able to hold off Carnegie Mellon University’s  Aaditya Mhatre and William Mitchell to secure the top 25 spot. Caldwell bested Mhatre by 0.3 seconds and Mitchell by 0.7 seconds with his time of 25:21.9.

Third-year student Aidan DeSanto also set a new personal best with his time of 25:44.5. In an extremely close finish, DeSanto beat Conner Stevons of Adrian College to notch a 38th place finish.

The other three Spartans who recorded personal bests were first-year student Luke Robbins (26:00.5), second-year student James De La Cruz (26:03.0) and first-year student Karthik Ravichandran (26:33.3). Robbins finished in 53rd place, De La Cruz was just two spots behind him and Ravichandran was the 87th man to cross the finish line.

The Spartans start their championship run with the University Athletic Association on Saturday, Oct. 29, in Whitesburg, Georgia. They are hoping to beat last year’s result, where both teams finished sixth out of eight teams.