CMU - Chippewas 3rd, 5th in MAC Cross Country Championships
Provided by CMU
Parker Scott, CMUchippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- The Central Michigan men were third and the women fifth Saturday at the Mid-American Conference Cross Country Championships at Riverwood Golf Resort.
CMU associate head coach Matt Kaczor said he was happy with the performances of his student-athletes.
"When you're at home it's a different feeling, the whole goal was to not get out of the race plan, don't let the emotions get too much too soon because you can definitely lose it in the first mile," Kaczor said. "So we wanted to try and keep the group calm and collected at the beginning and then try to have them work their way through the race.
"A few of the guys and a few of the ladies executed that race plan really well and that's what helped the ladies move from seventh to fifth and on the guys side we kind of maintained and held off Buffalo with our third-place finish."
Toledo won the women's title, while Eastern Michigan won the men's. It was the fifth straight MAC team championship for the EMU men, while the Toledo women returned to the top spot after finishing as the runner-up last season. The Rockets won three straight titles from 2010-12.
Junior Nate Ghena led the CMU men, while senior Abbey Kelto led the Chippewa women.
Ghena finished sixth in the men's race, an 8K, in a personal-best 24 minutes, 27 seconds. He earned First Team All-MAC honors for the second consecutive season.
"I wasn't too disappointed, the race actually got out fast for the first time in a long time with MAC conference meets, normally it's a sit-and-kick race," said Ghena, who placed fourth in the MAC last season. "So there was a little different game plan. I just kind of stuck my neck out there and tried staying with those guys. I'm a little disappointed I couldn't be a little closer to the top finisher, but overall I'm not too disappointed."
Kelto also earned First Team all-conference honors as she placed seventh in the women's race, a 6K, finishing in a school-record 20:43. Kelto broke Raeanne Lohner's school record.
"Raeanne was a runner-up (in the MAC) and if you think about it, her runner-up performance time was that school record time, and now, it's a seventh-place finish," Kaczor said. "So it just tells you the direction this conference is heading, and I was very happy for her."
"I knew the race was going to start off pretty fast but I just wanted to hang with the lead pack. I'm pretty happy with what we did overall as a team and individually." Said Kelto.
Also for the CMU men, junior Silas Dekalita placed 13th in 24:53, earning Second Team All-MAC honors, while Ben Wynsma was 22nd in 25:08, Spencer Nousain was 24th in 25:14, and Monte Scott was 34th in 25:35. Senior Ethan Lievense was 41st, while Joseph Emmanuel was 42nd.
"I knew going in I was going to have to be the mental leader for the guys, being the captain is a lot more of a role then just going out there and trying to do what you can physically," said Lievense, who has battled plantar fasciitis throughout the season. "it's getting everyone in the right state to go ahead and leave their best performance out there."
For the Chippewa women, Breanne Lesnar was 21st in 21:28, Michaela Bundy was 40th in 22:18, Hannah Davis placed 41st in 22:18, and Katie Weiler was 46th in 22:28. Esther Bell placed 64th, and senior Melinda Palinkas finished 67th.
Eastern Michigan, which had five all-league runners including four first-teamers, finished with 23 points in the men's team standings. Akron (49) was second, followed by the Chippewas (99) and Buffalo (102). Ohio was fifth with 121.
EMU's Willy Fink placed first in the men's race in 24:15. Victoria Voronko of Eastern Michigan won the women's race in 20:21.
Toledo edged the Eagles, 48-69, to win the women's event. Miami (103) was third, followed by Bowling Green (127) and the Chippewas (155).