Oct. 29, 2010
With all of the regular season races now under the Bobcats' belts, their focus and attention has turned squarely to the 2010 Mid-American Conference Cross Country Championships, which will be held this Saturday, Oct. 30, in Kalamazoo (MI) at the Pine View Golf Club. The women's 6,000-meter race will get things started at 11:00 a.m. ET, followed by the men's 8,000-meter run at Noon. Each conference team will send nine runners to the start line for Saturday's races, and will score its top five runners. The top 14 individual placers at the meet will earn All-MAC honors.
After redshirting during the 2009 season, the Bobcat women will be led by the 2008 MAC Cross Country individual champion, Annie Beecham, who ran the fourth-fastest 6,000-meter time (21:07) ever recorded by an Ohio woman in her last race, and Kari Summers, the '08 runner-up. Summers will also be attempting to join a short list of women runners to earn first-team All-MAC honors during each of her four seasons (finished second in 2008, seventh in 2007 and sixth in 2006). The duo will be joined by senior Abigail Swift, junior Lauren Fett, sophomore Angela Klimkowski and freshmen Juli Accurso, Kelsey McAlpine, Emily Pifer, and Melissa Thompson.
The women's team race, arguably the toughest and deepest field in the history of the women's MAC Championships, will feature four teams that are ranked in the top 10 of the latest USTFCCCA (United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association) Great Lakes regional poll. The Toledo Rockets, who were picked first in the preseason MAC poll, head into the race as the No. 3 ranked team in the regional poll and No. 32 in the national poll. Miami sits closely behind Toledo, at No. 5 in the regional poll, followed by Central Michigan (No. 7) and Ohio (No. 10).
"The women had a solid performance at the Pre-National meet, which has put us in position for a great performance at the MAC Championships," head coach Clay Calkins said. "Having such a young squad can be challenging at times, but these freshmen have proven themselves to be big meet performers. I have high hopes that our team can finish at or above their potential in the meet this weekend."
The men come into the MAC Championships looking to improve on a sixth-place finish from 2009. Currently, Ohio is ranked No. 15 in the Great Lakes regional poll. Eastern Michigan, the preseason MAC favorite, is ranked No. 8 and Kent State, the 2009 MAC champions, are ranked No. 14.
Ohio will be leaning on seniors Ridge Robinson, who has twice been named MAC runner of the week in 2010, and Scott Meyers for strong 1-2 punch. Both Robinson and Meyers missed the 2009 season, but have turned in several fine performances in 2010. The seven other varsity runners include senior Chris Davis and juniors Tyler Cantley, Joey Cherico, and Cory Irwin. Sophomores Tyler Ames and Noah Howkins, who was the Bobcats' top finisher at last year's MAC Championships, as well as freshman Chase Robinson, will wear the Green and White on Saturday too.
"The men are coming off a challenging performance at the Pre-National meet," Calkins stated. "We have a lot of room for improvement in our overall team performance, but I know our men are up to the task. It's wide open this year, and men are capable of achieving a top-3 spot. That will take a strong team performance, but I think our guys are capable of doing that."
Stay tuned to OhioBobcats.com for results after Saturday's races.
Link to MAC Championships headquarters: