CMU's Runner Kelto 16th, Awaits NCAA Word
Provided by CMU
Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MADISON, Wis. - Central Michigan's Abbey Kelto ran to a 16th place finish Friday in the NCAA Great Lakes Cross Country Regional, hosted by Wisconsin, at Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Course.
Kelto was the fourth runner to cross the finish line from a team that did not qualify for the NCAA Championships. As such, she may be headed to the Nov. 22 finals at Indiana State.
Whether or not Kelto, a senior who is in her second year at CMU after transferring from Michigan State, has earned an NCAA bid won't be determined until after all eight regionals from across the country are completed later on Friday and the results sorted out to determine the number of at-large team qualifiers.
"All the regions are playing out throughout the day," CMU coach Matt Kaczor said. "She has a good shot. It just depends on what happens in those other regions."
Kelto finished in 20 minutes, 30 seconds, just 6 seconds behind former MSU teammate Sara Kroll. Leah O'Connor of Michigan State won in 19:45.
"That's 13 seconds faster than what she ran at the (Mid-American) Conference meet, and this course is harder than the course we ran on at the conference," Kaczor said of Kelto's performance. "She was really close to beating Sara Kroll, and I don't think she's ever come within a minute of her.
"She's been firing on all cylinders the last three weeks and then this past week, wow. She went out and did it and now she's given herself a chance.
"It couldn't have happened to a better person. She's a quiet person, does her work and doesn't boast about it. She's a blue-collar worker and that's why you're seeing her succeed."
Top-ranked Michigan State took four of the top six spots to easily claim the women's title with 28 points. Wisconsin (82) was second, followed by Toledo (133), Michigan (137) and Ohio Sate (155). CMU finished 14th with 423.
Also for the Chippewas, Breanne Lesnar was 66th in 21:29, Katie Weiler was 107th (22:16), Michaela Bundy finished 112th (22:25) and Esther Bell was 122nd (22:32). Hannah Davis and Melinda Palinkas came in at 22:36 and 22:43, respectively.
Lesner is a junior, while Weiler, Bundy and Bell are sophomores, and Davis is a freshman. The Chippewas were ranked 14th in the region coming into the event.
"Our goal was to hit our ranking," Kaczor said. "If we could beat it by a spot or more, great. We're moving in the right direction. We just have to keep getting better and grow and develop."
The CMU men finished 12th with 315 points, led by junior Nate Ghena, who finished 33rd in 30:55.
"We were ranked 13th going in, and we looked a lot better," Kaczor said. "Our pack ran really close to one another and we closed the gap to Akron. We were 30 points from Akron."
Sixth-ranked Wisconsin edged Michigan State for the team title, 61-82. Michigan (94) was third, followed by Indiana (126) and Eastern Michigan (164). Akron was 11th with 285 points.
John Mascari of Indiana State won in 30:07.
Ben Wynsma, a senior running in his final race for CMU, was the second Chippewa to cross the finish line as he placed 56th (31:26). Also for CMU, Spencer Nousain was 72nd (31:47), Silas Dekalita was 74th (31:49), and Joseph Emmanuel placed 80th (31:53). Alec Toreki finished in 32:22 and Monte Scott came in at 32:34.
"Every single guy was under 33 (minutes) and that hasn't happened in my career," Kaczor said. "And having the two true freshmen (Emmanuel and Toreki) in there doing what they did, the future looks bright. We only graduate Ben Wynsma of the guys who ran at the regional. The future's bright if we can keep the good vibes going. The guys should be looking at a top 10 and maybe with a goal of top eight next year."