The Case Western cross country squads shone against regional and conference opponents during the Inter-Regional Rumble at Oberlin College on Oct. 19. The men’s team took fifth place in the meet and the women’s team came in fourth out of the 34 schools participating. Several Spartan runners had high individual results with sophomore Kelsey Aamoth claiming second place in the race and senior David Dixon leading the men’s team in eighth place overall.
The men’s team was hoping to challenge University Athletics Association rivals New York University and Rochester University to prepare for the UAA championship meet this weekend. Dixon’s time of 25:31.6 for the 8,000-meter race was the fastest of the team, followed by Gilad Doron in 37th, Timothy Travitz in 39th, Wyatt Hoch in 42nd and Tony Spalding in 56th place out of 288 runners with a time of 26:29.6.
Doron logged a personal best race time at the meet, finishing more than 20 seconds faster than previous races. He was able to capitalize on the team support system in place during the race to push his personal boundaries.
“Mentally, I was a lot more focused than usual, I was more committed to stick with the leaders,” Doron said. Cross country is a mental exercise in motivation and drive; Doron rose to the challenge at Oberlin and is looking to use this strategy for a strong finish in his first large-level meet with the team. Having a personal training regimen in addition to team training means that he hasn’t taken more than two days off in several months. He is hoping this training will continue to pay off.
The women’s team also lived up to their potential as they beat out regional foe Oberlin College and conference rival Rochester. Aamoth was edged out for the top spot by one second as she earned a second place finish with a time of 21:55.5. She was followed by Erica Bauerbach and Kristen Ruckstuhl who packed up for a back-to-back finish in 29th and 30th, respectively. Completing the top five scorers were Dana Jeter in 43rd place and Lydia Greene in 58th out of 287 runners with a time of 23:07.6.
Aamoth was also pleased with the group’s finish. Knowing she could challenge for the top spot, she tried to move ahead as much as possible, but knew that the leadership on the team could help all the runners achieve their best results. Aamoth logged a personal best time for the season and the team was able to edge out other teams with similar levels of skill. She is hoping to keep the team strength going in the UAA championship meet.
Coach Kathy Lanese is also pulling for a strong showing from both teams. The UAA is one of the most challenging conferences in the nation in regards to cross country performance. The Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll puts six of the conference’s men’s teams in the lists for the top 35 squads in the country. Case Western is among this talented group, bringing in the 35th spot behind Washington University, NYU, Chicago University, Carnegie Mellon and Rochester. The women’s squad faces a similar challenge with six nationally ranked teams. They are placed 20th in the poll behind NYU, Chicago and Washington, but leading Brandeis and Rochester.
The UAA championship will be a challenge due to the competitive field as well as the difficult terrain. The course will feature an uphill battle for the runners in the second half of the race and the fall weather could prove to be a negative factor as the Spartans fight for a top spot. Lanese is confident, however, that the team can rise to the occasion.
“Rankings are rankings, but they’re meant to be challenged,” Lanese said,”if we go in and meet our ranking, fine. But I think we can do better.” The main priority for the team is to run the best race possible to prepare for the NCAA battles ahead.