EMU - Men's Cross Country Claims Third Straight MAC Championship

EMU - Men's Cross Country Claims Third Straight MAC Championship

Provided by EMU

BUFFALO, N.Y. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University Men's Cross Country team won their third consecutive, and 17th overall, Mid-American Conference title Saturday in Buffalo at the 2012 conference championship.

The Eagles one-two finish by Terefe Ejigu and Daryl Smith led the way for EMU who picked up their seventh championship in the last eight years.

"I'm proud of them for their efforts and happy for them that they have added another piece of history to the EMU Tradition," said Head Coach John Goodridge

Senior Terefe Ejigu continued to etch his place in the EMU record books, as he paced the Eagle runners once again in 2012 to earn his second individual title with a winning time of 24:44.5. For Ejigu, it closes out his MAC Championship career with one runner-up finish, two titles, three All-MAC first team honors and three MAC Championships.

Not far behind Ejigu was teammate Daryl Smith (24:47.8), who followed up his freshman campaign in 2011 where he earned All-MAC second team, with a second place finish at the 2012 Championships as a sophomore. For Smith, the MAC Championship marked the best finish of his career beating his previous best of sixth place at the 2012 Spartan Invitational which opened the Eagles season.

Smith's second place finish meant that it was the first time since 2006 and fifth time overall that the Eagles have gone one-two in the MAC Championship.

Harry Dixon (25:17.8) finished 11th for the Eagles to claim the second team All-MAC honors for the first time in his career.

Rounding out the top five scorers for the Eagles were Willy Fink and Warren Witchell, who finished 21st and 24th respectively, with times of 25:30.4 and 25:25.0 in each of their first MAC Championships.

" With the inclement weather and course conditions and Ejigu dealing with a rolled ankle sprain that prevented him from training for six days my strategy was for our top four to run a controlled race until the last mile," added Goodridge on the individual performances. "Unfortunately early in the race Witchell was tripped and fell to the ground while several of our other guys stumbled trying to avoid him. Witchell was practically in last place at the 800 meter mark which obviously was not part of our strategy. He got a bit too enthusiastic and ran thru the field to rejoin the leaders but this expenditure of energy was costly and he faded to twenty fourth place. This whole incident got most of the guys out of sync and our strategy a bit altered but they all ran hard and secured the title."

Following the meet 12th year Head Coach John Goodridge was named the 2012 Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year, marking the seventh time in his career he has received the honor bestowed upon him by his peers. The 2012 title marks his eighth MAC Championship, placing him one behind legendary EMU coach Bob Parks, who has nine.

The Eagles will continue their season in two weeks when they travel to Madison, Wisconsin for the 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Regional on November 9.

EMU Individual Results

1. Terefe Ejigu 24:44.5

2. Daryl Smith 24:47.8

11. Harry Dixon 25:17.8

21. Willy Fink 25:30.4

24. Warren Witchell 25:35.0

29. Cody Chabola 25:44.6

42. Nick Petro 26:14.7

Team Results

1. Eastern Michigan 59

2. Central Michigan 72

T3. Miami 73

T3. Akron 73

5. Buffalo 105

6. Kent State 164

7. Ohio 176

8. Toledo 186

9. Bowling Green 277

2012 MAC Men's Cross Country All-MAC First Team

Terefe Ejigu, Eastern Michigan

Daryl Smith, Eastern Michigan

Michael Heller, Kent State

Stephen Kiplagat, Miami

Kyle Stacks, Central Michigan

Mike Pressler, Buffalo

Brad Hough, Akron

2012 MAC Men's Cross Country All-MAC Second Team

Jarrod Eick, Miami

Zachary Ahart, Buffalo

David Wing, Miami

Harry Dixon, Eastern Michigan

Ethan Lievense, Central Michigan

Jason Drudge, Central Michigan

Zach Krause, Buffalo

2012 MAC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year

John Goodridge, Eastern Michigan