Three is the magic number

Trio of runners earn All-Region honors

Eddie Kerekes, Sports Editor

Three of Case Western Reserve University’s fastest students earned recognition for their speed on Saturday, Nov. 12. The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region Championships meet, and three runners finished in the top 35 to capture All-Region honors.

Third-year students Sam Merriman and Danielle Kulpins and fourth-year student Galen Caldwell led the Spartans at the meet in Holland, Michigan. Kulpins and Caldwell were recognized for the first time in their careers, while Merriman received the honors for the second straight season.

With his seventh place finish, Merriman earned an invitation to the National Championship meet in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 19. It is the second time he will compete on the national stage. Merriman finished the eight kilometer regional race in 24:56.0 and will look to beat his personal best of 24:48.2 this Saturday.

Caldwell was the 26th runner to cross the finish line, finishing the race when the clock read 25:30.0. He was just 1.4 seconds away from being among the 25 fastest runners in the region. Caldwell ended his collegiate career on a high note, improving his final time of the season by almost a minute and a half.

Overall, the men’s team placed sixth in the region of 36 teams, their best finish since 2012. The three CWRU runners who finished after Caldwell came in a two-second bunch. Third-year student Aidan DeSanto crossed the line first with a time of 26:08.5, nabbing 51st place. Just 0.7 seconds behind him was first-year student Luke Robbins in 52nd place, and second-year student James De La Cruz crossed the line just 1.1 seconds later in 56th place.

Kulpins finished her breakout season the same way she started it: as the first Spartan runner to cross the finish line. Her time of 22:28.5 in the six kilometer race was good enough for a 20th place finish in the competitive region. She came very close to grabbing 19th place, but missed out by just 0.6 seconds.

Overall, the Spartan women placed 11th out of the 31 schools in the region, their lowest finish since at least 2010. The second CWRU woman to cross the finish line was second-year student Jennifer Hoffmann, almost a minute behind Kulpins in 62nd place. She just missed cracking the top 60, finishing 0.8 seconds behind the 60th finisher. Six spots behind her was first-year student Vanessa Pasadyn, who was 11 seconds slower than Hoffmann. In a three-way race for 67th place, Pasadyn came in second. She was just 0.4 seconds behind Allison Currey of Otterbein University and held off Manchester University’s Hannah Wappes by a mere 0.2 seconds.  

Two other Spartans finished in the top 100 in the region. Second-year student Isa Torres-Padin came in 84th place with a time of 23:57.1, and third-year student Rachel Laveson finished 99th, crossing the finish line at 24:12.7.

Heading into her final year of collegiate competition next season, Kulpins is looking to take the final step and compete at the national meet. Her teammates will also look to improve upon their their 2016 finish. Meanwhile, Merriman is hoping to become the first CWRU men’s All-American runner since 2004 by finishing in the top 35 on Saturday. The rest of his teammates will be sure to cheer him on.