EMU - Men's XC Wins Fifth Consecutive MAC Title With Record-Low 23 points

EMU - Men's XC Wins Fifth Consecutive MAC Title With Record-Low 23 points

Provided by EMU

MOUNT PLEASANT (EMUEagles.com)—Eastern Michigan University's men's cross country team accomplished something that has only been done one other time in EMU laurels when it won its fifth Mid-American Conference Championship title in a row, Nov. 1. The Eagles finished with 23 points ahead of Akron's 49-point performance to claim their 19th MAC Championship in program history. As icing on the cake, junior Willy Fink (Maumee, Ohio-Maumee) was the first competitor to cross the line, becoming the 15th Eagle to earn the title of MAC Champion.

The Eagles' 23 points ties the MAC record for fewest points scored in a nine-team field, as the 2006 team had an identical score in its victory. Every scoring runner for the Green and White earned All-MAC honors, and every competing EMU finished in the top-25 of the field.

Fink paced the team in 24:15, while teammate Lahsene Bouchikhi (Antwerp, Belgium-Stedelijk Lyceum Paardenmarkt Luchthaven) claimed the runner-up spot in 24:20, gaining the edge on Miami's Joseph Stewart at the finish line by one second. Amidst a flurry of finishers, Hlynur Andresson (Vestmannayjar, Iceland-Mountain Ridge (Alderson Broaddus)) mustered a fifth-place finish in 24:23.

Veteran harriers Nick Raymond (Erie, Mich.-Mason) and Warren Witchell (Williamston, Mich.-Dansville) completed the EMU strike with seventh- and eighth-place finishes, respectively. Raymond recorded a mark of 24:29, while Witchell crossed the line at 24:35. Fink, Bouchikhi, Andresson, and Raymond all garnered All-MAC First Team honors, while Witchell was named to the Second Team.

The Eagles saw two more harriers cross the line well ahead of the majority of the field, as John Knox (Gloversville, N.Y.-Gloversville) finished in an even 25:00 for 17th and Mitch Lenneman (River Falls, Wis.-River Falls) took 25th in 25:16. Rounding out the lineup were seniors Cameron Trinh (Oakland, Calif.-Skyline) in 30th and Steve Hammond (Warsaw, Ohio-River View (Wingate)).

The five-peat and tying of the MAC scoring record were not the only landmark achievements that took place in Mount Pleasant on the afternoon. With the team's win, Head Coach John Goodridge became one of the most dominant MAC coach in both EMU and conference laurels. The 14th-year head man picked up his ninth conference championship, tying the MAC Championship Coach record with legendary EMU former head coach Bob Parks. For his team's performance, Goodridge was honored with the ninth MAC Coach of the Year award of his tenure at EMU.

Goodridge's remarks on the championship were short but sweet. ""I am so proud and appreciative of this effort by our Ypsi Boys," beamed the MAC Coach of the Year. "We've been waiting all season to put our top five on the starting line and they came through with a wonderful team effort. I am also very appreciative of the tremendous team support we received on the course in numbers and enthusiasm."

Eastern will take nearly a fortnight in preparation for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, Nov. 14. The 8,000-meter race that will determine who will head to compete at the NCAA Championships is slated for a 1:15 p.m. start.

Team Standings

1. Eastern Michigan 23

2. Akron 49

3. Central Michigan 99

4. Buffalo 102

5. Ohio 121

6. Kent State 166

7. Miami 181

8. Toledo 210

9. Bowling Green 276

All-MAC First Team

Willy Fink (EMU)

Lahsene Bouchikhi (EMU)

Joseph Stewart (Miami)

Clayton Murphy (Akron)

Hlynur Andresson (EMU)

Nate Ghena (CMU)

Nick Raymond (EMU)

All-MAC Second Team

Warren Witchell (EMU)

Kyle Cochrun (Akron)

Trevor Norris (Akron)

Daniel Zupan (Akron)

Alec Peinkofer (Buffalo)

Silas Dekalita (CMU)

Matt Kahl (KSU)

2014 MAC Champion: Willy Fink (EMU)

2014 MAC Coach of the Year: John Goodridge (EMU)

EMU Individual Results

1. Fink, Willy 24:15

2. Bouchikhi, Lahsene 24:20

5. Andresson, Hlynur 24:23

7. Raymond, Nick 24:29

8. Witchell, Warren 24:35

17. Knox, John 25:00

25. Lenneman, Mitch 25:16

30. Trinh, Cameron 25:25

43. Hammond, Steve 25:46